Recent estimates indicate that each day 5 ,500 children try smoking for the first time, and almost 3,000 more become established smokers (Gilpin, Choi, Berry & Pierce, 1999). In the United States, first use of a tobacco product almost always occurs before high school graduation (Centers for Disease Control [CDC] , 1994) . Easy availability of to­ bacco products among youngsters might contribute to alarmingly high rates of tobacco use (Rhodes & Jason, 1988) . Despite laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18, most minors have little difficulty purchasing cigarettes (Jason et al. , 1999; Jason, Biglan, & Katz, 1998) . It is unclear which minor, clerk, or store charac­ teristics might influence youths' ability to purchase tobacco products il­ legally.