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May 2001

Curtailing Youth Smoking

Author Affiliations

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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001;155(5):546-547. doi:10.1001/archpedi.155.5.546

MOST PEOPLE agree that tobacco products should not be available to youths younger than 18 years of age. There is considerable disagreement, however, on how this objective should be achieved. In 1992, Congress passed an amendment named after the late Mike Synar, a Democratic representative from Oklahoma, requiring states to adopt and enforce laws establishing a minimum age limit for buyers of tobacco products and to show progressive reductions in the availability of tobacco products to minors. Failure to meet these requirements would result in forfeiture of federal block grant funds for substance abuse prevention and treatment. Funds were not provided to the states, however, to assist in tobacco law enforcement activities. Evaluation of the effects of the legislation were to be provided in the usual government fashion: yearly progress reports to the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

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