A new report was released that showed tobacco sales to youth under the age of 18 has reached an all-time low. These findings were possible through the Synar Amendment Program, a program that collects state-by-state data on illegal tobacco sales to minors. In 1997, 40.1 percent of retailers sold tobacco to youth under the age of 18. These number decreased to 8.5 percent in 2011.
The Synar Amendment Program is managed by SAMHSA, and was enacted by Oklahoma Congressman Mike Synar as Section 1926 of the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act. The Synar Amendment “requires states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories to enact and enforce lasw prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under age 18.” The amendment also allows for unannounced inspections of tobacco distributors and outlets to be conducted. Findings would then be sent to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
So far, all states and the District of Columbia were compliant with the amendment requirements. “The success of the Synar program is a testament to how preventing underage youth from gaining illegal access to tobacco products can have a tremendous impact,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. said.
To read the full report and the rest of the SAMHSA newsletter, click here.