SAMSHA Reports 91% Retailer Compliance Check Pass Rate

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has issued its Fiscal Year 2012 report on the agency’s annual federal and state program to monitor tobacco sales to minors by retailers. This new report shows that, on average, 90.9% of all retailers did not sell tobacco products to an underage decoy. This is the second highest retail successful pass rate in the 16-year history of the SAMHSA compliance checks. The almost 91% passage rate is significantly above the 80% target success rate set by the SAMHSA program.

In looking at the 50 states, the 2012 SAMHSA report finds that 34 of the 50 states achieved what is known as a “retailer violation rate” of less than 10%. This means that 34 states reported a 90% or higher success rate of preventing the sale of tobacco to a minor decoy. Additionally, 9 of the 50 states achieved a retailer violation rate of less than 5%, which translates into a 95% or higher success rate. These nine states with the highest retail success rates include Arizona, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

In a separate federal-state tobacco compliance check program supervised by the FDA in some 41 states, retailers have consistently on average posted compliance check success rates of approximately 95%. Like the SAMHSA retailer compliance checks, the FDA retail compliance inspections include the use of a minor attempting to purchase tobacco products, and also include inspections for compliance with other FDA tobacco regulations.

To see the SAMHSA retail violation rate for each state, look on page six of the accompanying Fiscal Year 2012 SAMHSA Annual Report.