Tobacco sales to youth drop in 2013
CONCORD — The number of retailers selling cigarettes and tobacco to youth dropped 2 percent last year over 2012, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS).
According to recent compliance checks, tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire dropped to 11.2 percent in 2013, down from 13.2 percent in 2012. More than 300 tobacco retailers were surveyed as part of the SYNAR compliance check program. SYNAR, adopted in 1992 by Congress and named for its sponsor Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, was an amendment to the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act and designed to decrease access to tobacco for those under the age of 18.
"We have been working very closely with our partners at the Division of Liquor Enforcement (DLE), DHHS' Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and our Regional Public Health Networks to educate retailers about the health risks for youth to use tobacco," said BDAS director Joe Harding. "The drop in tobacco sales to youth is certainly a step in the right direction and shows our education efforts are helping."
State results are well under the federal SYNAR requirement of 20 percent and would seem to indicate an increased vigilance among tobacco retailers in New Hampshire, according to state officials.
"We know that tobacco use among our youth causes both immediate and long-term damage," said New Hampshire Public Health director Dr. José Montero. "While this year's survey shows we are making progress in reducing access to tobacco use among our youth, we need to do more. The younger youth are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they will become addicted."
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