In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (P.L. 102-321), which includes the Synar Amendment (section 1926), aimed at decreasing 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 to report the findings to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). States must comply with the Synar Amendment in order 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, as well as 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 provide guidance to 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.
Currently, Oklahoma’s Synar non-compliance rate is 17.9%. 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 2018 Annual Synar Report for Oklahoma or the RPC Synar Press Release 2019, please click on the following links: