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Synar Survey

The Synar survey was established in July 1992 when Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA) Reorganization Act (P.L. 102-321), which established the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With this act, the Synar Amendment (named for its sponsor, former congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma) was incorporated to address access to tobacco by youth under 18 years of age.

The core requirements of the law include the following:

  1. A State law prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age;
  2. Random, unannounced inspections of both over-the-counter and vending machine outlets for tobacco products to produce credible annual estimates of the statewide sale rate of tobacco products to minors;
  3. A report from the State to the Secretary of Health and Human Services demonstrating progress toward the goal of no more than 20 percent of purchase attempts by youth resulting in obtaining tobacco products.

The annual survey is designed to assess the effectiveness of the State’s enforcement program and to fulfill the second core requirement of the law. It is conducted with youth participants who attempt to purchase tobacco products from randomly selected retailer outlets. The survey produces a probability estimate of retailer's compliance with the tobacco access law.

Department of Health Data

Synar Information
Webpage includes an annual report, visualization comparison tools, survey manuals, collection forms, survey design descriptions and training material. The reports and tools include statistical comparisons, summaries, confidence intervals, regional estimates, historical results, significance tests, and demographics.

External Data Sources

Synar Program (SAMHSA)

SAMHSA Annual Synar Report