In 2011 tobacco sales to minors in the U.S. reached an all-time low after a federal and state inspection program was introduced to help lessen or prevent underage tobacco use. This program was known as the Synar Amendment program “aimed at ending illegal tobacco sales to minors” (SAMSHA).
In 1997, 40% of retailers were willing to sell tobacco products to minors. This number has significantly decreased to 8.5% in 2011 according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA).
The U.S. Surgeon General continued to combat youth tobacco use with new bans and increased tobacco taxes. Although, these endeavors helped decreased the use of cigarettes among youth, consumption of other tobacco products like cigars and loose tobacco increased more than 17% during the same time period (2010-2011) among adults according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One factor involved in this “switch” was the disparity of taxes on different tobacco products.
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To date, the Synar Amendment has helped curtail the illegal selling of tobacco products to youth. The amendment was introduced by late Oklahoma Representative Mike Synar and “requires states and U.S. jurisdictions to have laws and enforcement programs for prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco to persons under 18.”
With the help of the Synar Amendment:
– 12 out of 51 states achieved a retailer violation rate below 5 percent, up from 9 states in fiscal year 2010 and,
– 34 states achieved a retailer violation rate below 10 percent.
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