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Press Release

Small Increase Seen in Youth Tobacco Sales in New Hampshire
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Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services
Publish Date:
January 5, 2015

Concord, NH - Tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire, as measured by the Synar compliance check program, increased a small amount to 12.9% in 2014, up from 11.5% a year ago. Synar is a federally mandated effort from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to reduce tobacco sales to youth. To hundred and ninety-six tobacco retailers across the State were surveyed in this year’s effort.

In accordance with the tobacco regulations, states are required to provide detailed information on progress made in enforcing youth tobacco access laws. The Annual Synar Report (ASR) format provides the means for states to comply with the reporting provisions of the Public Health Services Act (42 U.S.C. 300x-26) and Tobacco Regulation for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) (45 C.F.R. 96.130 (e)).

The results of the checks are well under the federal SYNAR requirement of 20%. Research demonstrates that lower tobacco use by youth also decreases the chance that they will use drugs or alcohol. Data from the New Hampshire Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows 1,132 youth report they usually get their cigarettes from a store or gas station. This indicates that there is still a need for merchant education and enforcement in New Hampshire.

Joe Harding, Director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services said, “The 1% increase from (11.8%) last year to (12.9%) this year shows that New Hampshire still has some work to do relative to checking IDs for tobacco products. BDAS will continue partnering with the Division of Liquor Enforcement (DLE) as well as local coalitions to assist in education efforts to reduce tobacco sales to youth. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that 86.2% of high school youth did not smoke cigarettes in the last 30 days. This reflects well on the education and youth tobacco law enforcement efforts of the Division of Liquor Enforcement, as well on the education efforts of the New Hampshire Tobacco Prevention Program.”

BDAS partners with DLE to conduct and report on the results of the compliance checks. In addition, DLE has been contracted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct additional tobacco retailer compliance checks. The DLE offers trainings to both owners and store clerks to help ensure that they do not sell tobacco to minors.

BDAS hopes to utilize the Thirteen (13) Regional Public Health Networks to help assist NH in being able to check every store in the State.

BDAS and DLE plan to increase efforts to lower the number of sales to youth. These efforts will include increased coordination with local law enforcement and other educational efforts.

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