Federal Report: Retailers Continue to Prevent Underage Tobacco Sales

2013 SAMHSA report shows well below 20% violation rate

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

MINNEAPOLIS -- A new report just released by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that retailers continue to meet SAMHSA’s federally mandated goals of preventing the sale of tobacco to youth under the age of 18.  
The 2013 SAMHSA report on the Synar Amendment program, a partnership between the federal and state governments aimed at ending the sale of tobacco to minors, shows that only 9.6% of the inspected retail stores nationwide sold tobacco products to an undercover minor during 2013. This 9.6% violation rate is significantly below the 20% target violation rate set by the Synar Amendment program.
The report goes onto state that 2013 is the eighth year in Synar Amendment program history that all fifty states were in compliance with the retail inspection goal requirements.  In fact, the number of states reporting retail violation rates below 5% increased to ten states in 2013. The 10 states with the lowest violation rates, and thus the highest success rates, are as follows:
Minnesota and Nevada: 1% violation rate; 99% success rate.
Maine: 2.7% violation rate; 97.3% success rate.
Kansas: 3.1% violation rate; 96.9% success rate.
Montana: 3.2% violation rate, 96.8% success rate.
Arkansas: 3.3% violation rate, 96.7% success rate.
Mississippi and South Dakota: 3.6% violation rate, 96.4% success rate.
Hawaii: 4.2% violation rate, 95.8% success rate.
New York: 4.8% violation rate, 95.2% success rate.
The Synar Amendment was enacted 17 years ago and requires states to create laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to underage youth along with retail inspection programs to enforce the minimum age sales laws. Under this program, states must conduct retail inspections on an annual basis and report the violation rates to SAMHSA.  
Below is a link to the 2013 SAMHSA Synar Report. A list of all 50 states and the respective violation rates can be found on Page 5 of the Synar Report.