Cigarette sales to youths declining

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 3, 2005

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Retailers continue to reduce sales of tobacco to children and teens younger than 18, according to data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Overall, the national retailer violation rate dropped to 13% in reports submitted by states, down from 14% in 2003 and 40% since the annual surveys began in 1996.

The findings are based on reports submitted by states in response to federal law established in 1992 restricting access to tobacco by teens younger than 18. The law, known as the Synar Amendment, requires states and U.S. territories to enact and enforce youth tobacco access laws; conduct annual random, unannounced inspections of tobacco outlets; achieve negotiated annual retailer violation targets; and attain a final goal of 20% or less for retailer noncompliance.

"States that meet their Synar goals share certain characteristics," said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie. "Generally these states employ a comprehensive strategy that combines vigorous enforcement efforts, political support from the state government and a climate of active social norms that discourage youth tobacco use."

The survey showed that 48 states achieved the goal of retailer sales of cigarettes to minors of no more that 20%, and 38 states achieved a retailer violation rate of no more than 15%.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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