Pennsylvania Act 112 of 2002
On June 20, 2002, Pennsylvania enacted Act 112, prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors (anyone under the age of 18). The offense is defined as "guilty of a summary offense if the person:
- sells any type of tobacco product to anyone under the age of 18 years or
- furnishes by purchase, gift, or other means, a tobacco (in any form) product to a minor."
Penalties were enacted ranging from $100 for the first offense to $3000 for the fourth offense, as well as the possibility of losing the tobacco retailer license.
The chart to the left shows how compliance with the state's law has increased in the past decade. In Allegheny County in 2001, seven of every ten retailers was selling tobacco to minors; in each year since 2006, that rate has been less that 5% helping the state achieve a sustained rate below 10%.
The SYNAR rate is a measure of compliance with the law making it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors. The Federal SYNAR Regulation requires that each state annually conduct, random, unannounced inspections, using hired youth inspectors, to assess their compliance with the state's access law.
This federally mandated survey is conducted each year on a randomly drawn sample of tobacco retailers across the nation. States are required to meet annual target inspection rates established by the Federal Government. Failure to meet the requirements of the SYNAR regulation can result in a loss of up to 40% of the state's substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant allocation.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
On June 22, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Family Smoke Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the FDA unprecedented control to regulate tobacco products nationwide, including sales and marketing. Some of the restrictions under the Tobacco Control Act include limits on vending machines and their placement, requiring face-to-face sales, as well as following Pennsylvania's lead in required proof of age to purchase tobacco and banning the sale of packs with fewer than 20 cigarettes.
For more information, please visit the FDA website.
Interested in helping Tobacco Free Allegheny with youth access?
We're always keeping an eye out for new minors or adult officers to help us. Compliance officers work in teams of 3 (two adults, one minor) and FDA officers work in teams of 2 (one adult, one minor) or teams of 1 (one adult). For more information, contact Brittany Huffman at 412/322.8321 ext 302 or email her. Position descriptions can be found below.
Youth Compliance Officer job description (must be between the ages of 15 and 17)