In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (P.L. 102-321), including the Synar Amendment (section 1926) to decrease youth access to tobacco. This amendment, named for its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, requires states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under age 18 years. To determine compliance with the legislation, the amendment requires each state and U.S. jurisdiction to conduct annual, random, unannounced inspections of retail tobacco outlets and report the findings to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). States must comply with the Synar Amendment to receive their full Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) awards.
The Synar Amendment was developed in the context of a growing body of evidence about the health problems related to tobacco use by youth and evidence about the ease with which youth could purchase tobacco products through retail sources.
Because it plays a lead federal role in substance abuse prevention, SAMHSA was charged with implementing the Synar Amendment. In January 1996, SAMHSA issued the Synar regulation to guide the states. The regulation requires that states:
Enact laws prohibiting any manufacturer, retailer, or distributor of tobacco products from selling or distributing such products to any individual younger than age 18.
Enforce these laws.
Conduct annual, unannounced inspections that provide a valid probability sample of tobacco sales outlets accessible to minors.
Negotiate interim targets and a date to achieve a non-compliance rate of no more than 20%.
Submit an annual report detailing activities to enforce the law.*
Under Oklahoma law, the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) commission aids ODMHSAS in enforcing the Synar provisions. The goal of Synar is to reduce and maintain Oklahoma’s number of successful illegal tobacco purchases by minors to less than 20% of attempted buys. Currently, Oklahoma’s Synar non-compliance rate is 13.2%.** If you would like more information, please contact your local Regional Prevention Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to view the 2021 Annual Synar Report for Oklahoma or the RPC Synar Press Release 2019, please click on the following links:
* Source: Content on this page was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/synar/about-synar
** Source: The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services