In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (P.L. 102-321), which includes the Synar Amendment (section 1926), aimed at decreasing youth access to tobacco. This amendment, named for its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, requires states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under age 18 years. To determine compliance with the legislation, the amendment requires each state and U.S. jurisdiction to conduct annual, random, unannounced inspections of retail tobacco outlets and to report the findings to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). States that do not comply with the requirements set forth in the amendment are subject to a penalty of 40 percent of their Federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant funding. Because it plays a lead federal role in substance abuse prevention, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was charged with implementing the Synar Amendment. In January 1996, SAMHSA issued the Synar Regulation to provide guidance to the states. SAMHSA annually compiles the sales violation rates from each state and territory as part of its Annual Synar Report.
SAMHSA-Tobacco Prevention/Synar Program and related web pages.