January 5, 2012
Concord, NH - Tobacco merchant compliance with laws concerning tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire continues to increase according to the latest SYNAR tobacco compliance report by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS).
The report is based on attempted tobacco buys by supervised youth during random compliance checks. The rate of retailers selling to youth dropped to 7.8% in 2011. This number is down from 8.6% in 2010, and a dramatic decline from 14% in 2009. Research demonstrates that lower tobacco use by youth also decreases the chance that they will use drugs or alcohol.
“This is very good news for New Hampshire children and their parents,” said BDAS Director Joseph P. Harding. “We know that tobacco use by youth harms their development and increases their risk of using alcohol and other drugs. The results show what can be accomplished by building partnerships that address issues affecting the health and safety of our youth and communities. We thank our partners for their vigilance in not selling tobacco to underage youth.”
SYNAR is a federally mandated effort to reduce tobacco sales to youth. Three hundred ninety-two tobacco retailers across the State were surveyed in this year’s SYNAR tobacco compliance checks. The results of the checks were well under the federal SYNAR requirement of 20%. BDAS partners with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC), Division of Enforcement to conduct and report on the results of the compliance checks.
“The Division is charged with licensing, education and enforcement of tobacco laws,” said Chief Eddie Edwards, NHLC Director of Enforcement. “A compliance check is an educational tool used to ensure voluntary compliance of New Hampshire tobacco and alcohol laws. We are very pleased with this year’s tobacco compliance checks results. We feel the continued partnership between liquor investigators, local police departments, youth volunteers, and licensees is the secret to New Hampshire’s success of nearly 93% compliance.
Data from the NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) demonstrated that youth tobacco use dramatically increases their use of other substances. The results of a survey of 22,000 students in the 2007 YRBS revealed that 27 out of 28 high school students who smoked also reported drinking.
Go to www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/documents/synar11.pdf to view the report. For more information about BDAS visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bdas/index.htm.