The Synar program is responsible for implementing the requirements of the Synar Amendment. The Synar Amendment was developed as a result 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. The Synar program has been successful in preventing youth tobacco use
States must comply with the Synar Amendment in order to receive the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) awards. As a result, the Community Prevention Unit ensures Synar inspections occur on an annual basis.
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In January 1996, SAMHSA issued the Synar regulation to provide guidance to the states. The regulation and updates from Public Law 116-94 requires that states:
- Enforce underage access laws to a degree that reasonably can be expected to reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 21.
- Conduct annual, unannounced inspections that provide a valid probability sample of tobacco sales outlets accessible to minors.
- Report their sampling methodology and results of the annual Synar survey as a part of the Annual Synar Report no later than December 31. This includes the State’s sampling methodology, Synar survey results, Synar inspection report, and the Synar inspection protocol.
- Revise their methodology, inspection reports, and inspection protocols, to include the revised age requirements (under 21). In addition, the Synar survey results must now include results for sales to youth and young adults under the age of 21.
- Achieve a noncompliance rate of no more than 20% (SAMHSA requires that each state reduce its retailer violation rate to 20%).
For more information regarding the Synar regulation, refer to the Tobacco Regulation for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant – Final Rule – 1996 (PDF | 260 KB).