NH DHHS Announces Dramatic Drop in Tobacco Sales to Youth

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) announces today that tobacco sales to youth are at their lowest level ever recorded in New Hampshire. According to a recent tobacco compliance check survey, sales dropped to 8.6% in 2010 a decline from 14% in 2009.

“This is great news for New Hampshire children and their parents,” said BDAS Director Joseph Harding. “We know that when kids use tobacco it harms their development and increases their risk of using alcohol and other drugs. These results show what can be accomplished by building partnerships that address issues affecting the health and safety of our youth and communities.”

As part of this year’s SYNAR tobacco compliance check, 392 tobacco retailers across the State were surveyed. SYNAR is a federally mandated effort aimed at reducing tobacco sales to youth. The results of the checks were well under the federal SYNAR requirement of 20%.

BDAS partners with the NH Division of Liquor Enforcement (DLE) to conduct and report on the results of the compliance checks. “We are charged with licensing tobacco at retail establishments and the enforcement of tobacco laws,” said DLE Director Eddie Edwards, “we also provide education for merchants to help them comply with the laws. The results of this year’s compliance checks are partially the results of the work our field agents do every day, and the work of our youth volunteers who help conduct the compliance checks. They are also due to the cooperation of the many tobacco retailers who understand the importance of complying with youth tobacco access laws.”

“We’d like to thank our partners for their efforts,” said BDAS’ SYNAR coordinator Rob O’Hannan, “including the Division of Liquor Enforcement, the NH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program and the NH National Guard. We will continue to explore ways to work together to help New Hampshire further decrease the risks associated with tobacco use.