Tobacco Sales Down

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Sales of tobacco to underage youth hit an all-time low last year, according to data released last month by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Surveys conducted under the socalled Synar Amendment program also showed that for the first time, 80 percent of tobacco product retailers in every state complied with the ban on sales to youth, which is a goal of the program, SAMHSA said. Ten years ago, the agency said, compliance rates were as low as 25 percent.

The Synar Amendment requires states and jurisdictions to report retailer violation rates to SAMHSA each year, based on random unannounced inspections. It is named after its congressional sponsor, the late Rep. Mike Synar (D-Okla.).

The latest report on those surveys, “Youth Tobacco Sales: State Synar Enforcement Efforts and SAMHSA’s Synar Regulation Monitoring,” says that nationwide, the violation rate among tobacco retailers was 10.9 percent, down from 40.1 percent in 1997.

The report includes the rates for each state. The lowest violation rates were in Arkansas (2.2) and Mississippi (3.2); the highest were in Kansas (19.2) and Massachusetts (18.2).

The report is available at, under “Quick Find & Order,” and at (877) 726-4727. Search or ask for inventory number SMA07-4300.