In July 1992, Congress enacted a law that included an amendment (Sec. 1926) aimed at decreasing access to tobacco products among individuals under age 18. Named for its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, the Synar amendment required States to enact and enforce laws prohibiting any manufacturer, retailer, or distributor from selling or distributing tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18. The goal of the amendment was to reduce the number of successful illegal purchases by minors to no more that 20 percent of attempts in each State. In 1997, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 55 (currently Sec. 161.088 of the Health and Safety Code). The Texas law gives full responsibility for enforcement of the law to the Comptroller of Public Accounts. DSHS, Substance Abuse Services, conducts the annual Synar survey to determine the rate of illegal sales to minors. The Texas Synar Survey conducts approximately 1,000 random, unannounced inspections of local tobacco retailers in each of the 11 Health and Human Service Commission regions.
DSHS, Substance Abuse Services, submits the Annual Synar Report to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)/Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) to comply with the reporting provisions of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300x-26) and the Tobacco Regulation for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (45 CFR Part 96). In accordance with the tobacco regulations, Texas is required to provide detailed information on progress made in enforcing youth tobacco access laws and future plans to ensure compliance with the Synar requirements to reduce youth tobacco access rates. This information provides Congress with a better understanding of State progress in implementing Synar, including State difficulties and successes in enforcing retailer compliance with youth tobacco access laws. The data submitted in the annual Synar Report is used by the Health and Human Services Secretary to evaluate State compliance with the statute.
Annual Synar Rate of Illegal Sales of Tobacco Products To Minors, 1996 - 2005
*SB 55 went into effect 9/01/97
Underage Smoking Provisions - Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Regulatory Information