Synar Amendment

Section 1926 of the U.S. Public Health Services Act, referred to as the Synar Amendment, requires states to decrease youth access to tobacco. All states are required to:

  • Have a law making the sale of tobacco products to minors (under 21 years of age in Ohio) illegal
  • Enforce this law
  • Conduct random, unannounced inspections of tobacco retail outlets in a scientific manner to check the compliance with state law; and
  • Report each year on the enforcement of state law activities conducted the previous year, enforcement plans for the coming year and the extent of success in reducing the availability of tobacco products to minors.

The law also requires states to meet established compliance rates or be subject to a 40 percent reduction of Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention (SAPT) Block Grant dollars for prevention and treatment services. For Ohio, this amount would be approximately $26 million.

Since State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2002 (July 1 to June 30), the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioHAS) has been working with the Ohio Department of Public Safety Investigative Unit (OIU) to conduct unannounced inspections at randomly-selected locations. Prior to SFY 2002, the Department worked with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), which subcontracted with local health departments, law enforcement and/or other interested entities to conduct the randomly selected inspections.

For further information about the Synar Amendment and Program:

Tobacco 21

As of October 17, 2019 it is illegal to give, sell, or otherwise distribute cigarettes, other tobacco products, or alternative nicotine products like e-cigarette/vaping products to any person under the age of 21. See Ohio Revised Code 2927.02 for the law's exact language.