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Synar Regulations

A Force in Illegal Sales & Compliance

In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act, which includes an amendment (Section 1926) aimed at decreasing access to tobacco products among individuals under age 18. Named for its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, the Synar Regulation requires 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 is to reduce the number of successful illegal purchases by minors to no more than 20 percent in each State within a negotiated time period.

The Synar Regulation requires that each State enforce its underage access laws and annually conduct random, unannounced inspections of a sample of tobacco vendors to assess compliance with the State’s access law. Successfully reducing youth access to tobacco is important to the States in order to continue receiving their full substance abuse block grant funding.

Maine has been conducting compliance checks annually and for nine consecutive years, and Maine has maintained 90% or better youth access compliance.

Find more information about Maine laws governing tobacco sales.