In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (PL 102-321), which includes an amendment aimed at decreasing youth access to tobacco. The Synar Amendment, named after its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, requires states to have laws prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to minors. Enforcement, compliance, merchant education, and a coverage study are the four main components of Synar.

Synar checks are conducted at locations throughout the State and the State must prove that the retailer violation rate is 20 percent or less. Under the Synar Amendment, States are required to report the results of the compliance checks – what percentage of minors were able to purchase tobacco or tobacco related products within that State. Failing to comply with the Synar Amendment and enforcing tobacco sales laws regarding underage people not only increases risks to youth, but also jeopardizes federal funds States receive for substance abuse treatment programs and prevention services.

For more information about the Synar Program, visit the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) website.

Synar Program Fact Sheet: