Tobacco 21: Synar Amendment and Nanny-State Funding


If you haven’t noticed

Tobacco control, the public health sector, along with politicians are hell-bent on raising the age from 18 to purchase tobacco to 21 (T21) primarily within cities or counties, not states. They must have hurt themselves to come up with a creative name, though. “Tobacco 21”.

Those “kids” at 18-20 couldn’t possibly walk, get a ride or drive to the next city or county line now could they? As an example, in Cleveland, Ohio – while the state law is 18 – they’ve passed an ordinance to make it 21.

It is destined to fail.

Read this very carefully…….. and read the astute Agent’s question…




Fig pointed out one of my favorite subjects – and used Professor Puff-N-Stuff’s blog to do so:
“Other major changes from the new law include changes to the Public Health Services Act Sec. 1926 (42 U.S.C. 300x-26) – the Synar Amendment – with respect to implementation and enforcement. Sections pertaining to where a state would need to develop its own laws are cut (as federal law now establishes the new national baseline),
👉and instead of the Secretary for Health and Human Services being required to hold 10% of a given state’s federal grant money for non-compliance in the first applicable fiscal year and 40% after the third year of non-compliance, 👉 the Secretary may instead hold “up to” 10%.

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association (CASAA) has released this statement about “Tobacco 21” laws:

CASAA Tobacco 21 policy statement: “Including low-risk alternatives in T21 laws is unwise, misleading”

Update: 01/17/20
“Taking these together, our findings suggest a possible unintended effect of e‐cigarette MLSA (minimum legal sale age) laws – rising cigarette use in the short term while youth are restricted from purchasing e‐cigarettes.”

Tobacco Harm Reduction 4 Life also has a

Tobacco 21 Toolkit

Nanny State

As Senator Steve Linthicum (R – Oregon) puts it,

 “freedom from responsibility” will enable more state intervention for many years to come.

The Senator’s Op-Ed is here:

Smoking age law simply more nanny state

At the time this was written:


is the only state that has their age restriction to purchase tobacco, and “treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes” set at 21.

The other 49 states are at 18.

Purchasing and smoking are again two different things.

A few states have restrictions the age to smoke and/or possession at 18, and a few are also at 19. Most do not have a “possession / smoking age”. Hawaii “treat e-cigarettes the same as regular cigarettes”

Smoking age

Conflicting with what I stated above, I also found this “map”.


Update 6/10/17:

Correction: Hawaii, California, and Washington DC are at 21. (Thanks Skip!)

Riding the boot

This seemingly sudden traction in support for raising the age of smoking does not surprise me. The public takes any THINK of the CHILDREN ™ statement seriously until snot runs down their chin. (The adult’s chin, not the kids).

Not to poke the bear, but – oh screw it – I’ll poke the bear.

At first glance, I see trouble smoke on the horizon.

Tobacco “free” kids. They are saying, without publicly admitting it, that they can’t and HAVEN’T been doing “their jobs” in tobacco control.

You won’t hear them talk about their blatant, blinding inadequacies.

With that, they “should” raise the minimum age to purchase to 21.

But wait, can Tobacco-Free Kids do that?

What about their deal with tobacco? Let’s chat about job security.

Tobacco-Free Kids  actively prevented the FDA from raising the age of cigarette sales nationally to anything above 18!”

That’s here:

Disingenuous As Can Be: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids Urges States to Raise Tobacco Sales Age to 21

Posturing? Absolutely. Looks GREAT in writing? Well -not if you read between the tweets, so to speak. In the scheme of thinks, they’re admitting their organizational failures, lackluster “efforts” and it’s beyond obvious they don’t “help” reduce the smoking rates of teens – or adults, for that matter.

Most people start smoking much earlier, by their own admissionwell before the age of 18 despite laws and ordinances to prevent it.

Will requiring the age to purchase tobacco at 21 make any difference in children under 18 finding ways to get tobacco?

I’d like to think so, but I think not.

The Synar Amendment

While snooping around for the reason to “suddenly” restrict consenting 18 to 20 year old adults from purchasing tobacco at their leisure, I have found with the effort, there is funding and reward.

Here’s a look at the Synar Amendment.

There is also funding to be lost.

States must comply with the Synar Amendment in order to receive their full Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) awards.

Imagine my surprise.

Chapter and Residency Program Mini-Grants for Tobacco and Nicotine Prevention and Control

Again, shocked:

Raising the Minimum Legal Sale Age for Tobacco and Related Products\

Huh… since this blog, they took that link DOWN.

I’ll update as soon as I hear something…

Stay with me – my train of thought is a bit – well – discolored and smokey…

The Synar Amendment. Poof.

In my (highly acclaimed by me) opinion, as the age of purchase was 18, they are having a difficult time keeping their percentage at acceptable levels, and now want to raise it to 21 to recreate the problem.


Added 10/08/2017:

Think I can’t read MINDS?

As stated in its annual report on “key strategic metrics,” the Department of Environmental Health is hoping to increase “the percent of retail tobacco visits with sales to minors.”

The noncompliance rate of its sting operations rose from 8.3 percent in 2014 to 16 percent in 2015. In fact, the department hopes to snag even more vendors, projecting a 23 percent noncompliance rate by the end of 2017.


Denver Is Hiring Teen Cigarette Narcs

As my curiosity and attention span equals or exceeds a cat, I briskly asked my favorite tobacco control “expert” of her insight – and I spelled Synar incorrectly in the tweet, forgive me. Tweetin’ ain’t always easy. 🙂

Acceptable levels being – they want them UP so close to 20% that they’re needed, but not enough to lose funding. They’re having a difficult time with that. Smoking rates are dropping MUCH faster than anticipated or desired. See, this plan isn’t working for them.


HOW the *%&^ can TWENTY percent of underage sales BE an ACCEPTABLE level?

I’ll repeat that. The acceptable level of SALES of TOBACCO to minors is set at 20% – and funding will STILL commence. Two out of ten CHILDREN can possibly purchase cigarettes according to this and be acceptable.

(Don’t get me wrong, the WeCard program, in my opinion, is an awesome program from what I see.)

Vape shops were self-regulating and doing this LONG before NICOTINE was deemed tobacco.

Bold is my emphasis

The inspection program, named for late U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Oklahoma, is a federal mandate requiring each state to document that the rate of tobacco sales to minors is no more than 20 percent at the risk losing millions in federal funds for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and treatment services.

Here, in 2012, (bold is my emphasis)

demonstrates that the average nationwide retail store infringement rate of tobacco sales is down to 8.5%.

Tobacco Sales To Minors Reach All-Time Low



That’s good, right?

Well – wait a minute, the train is chugging but pulling into the station.

According to the “agreement” they can:

“Negotiate interim targets and a date to achieve a noncompliance rate of no more than 20%”

“Nicotine” is now a “tobacco product”. “Use among teens”… so…with e-cigarettes…

If they raise the minimum to 21, they create a whole new class and “infringement rate” – and in the process, create more funding to do what “they’ve” already allegedly done. Job security.

If smokers under 21 want to try e-cigarettes, oh, too bad.

Electronic Cigarette Age Restrictions May Drive Teens to Traditional Cigarettes

Harm Reduction Drives Younger Vapers, Not Flavors

“If “children” are *already smoking, they’re *smokers regardless of age. Think of the children™.”

In the end:

Most of the posturing going on – at least around the United States – isn’t about children.

Sure seemed like it. caphysicians.jpg

 Added 9/1/17

FDA Announces Retail ‘This Is Our Watch’ Program

Added 10/13/2017
Anne Arundel County tobacco sting finds one in four stores sold tobacco to minors

Added 03/25/2018:

“Increasing the MLPA to 21 years in NYC did not accelerate reductions in youth tobacco use any more rapidly than declines observed in comparison sites.”

Impact of New York City’s 2014 Increased Minimum Legal Purchase Age on Youth Tobacco Use.

“Judge Franklin Theis issued a permanent injunction Thursday barring Topeka’s city government from enforcing an ordinance its governing body approved in December”

Judge bars Topeka city government from enforcing ordinance raising smoking age

Added 6/17/18:

Via Brad Rodu:

Beginning in 1997, Washington required states to report underage sales via the Synar Program (here).  The latest Synar data shows that 9.6% of retailers were noncompliant in 2013.  The FDA also conducts compliance checks of tobacco retailers.  In 2016, the FDA reported a noncompliance rate of 11% (here).  The FDA should focus on this far more dangerous illegal cigarette sales issue, rather than obsessing over e-cigarettes.

FDA Aims at Wrong Target in Effort to Protect Teens

Final mixed thoughts:

Obviously, no one’s complained or thrown their arms up about the Synar Amendment  –  they must be just fine with the status quo – as if their funding depended on it.

To have each organization claiming they want to “reduce” tobacco with this disturbing insanity of ANY type of loophole is beyond words.

I don’t want “children” to start smoking as young as I did, and I was purchasing them at 9 without a second look. Within these restrictions, they not only restrict tobacco purchases, they are also lumping in and restricting the choice of e-cigarettes as an alternative.

What I DON’T like is restricting of age consenting ADULTS from choice.

I’m not positive of “where” the Tobacco 21 movement is “going”, but with funding comes diversion and manipulation I can still, at times barely comprehend, so cut me some slack for not having a full grasp on it and its leaders “direction” at the moment. It will come to me eventually.

In the meantime, read what Brian Fotjik has to say:

Added 8/23/17

What do YOU think? I’m sure it will come to one of you.


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More to come.

Keep ON #Vaping On.

























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