Evaluation of federal and state implementation of Synar regulations

The Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy Research Program was designed to provide support for investigators to conduct policy research on a variety of subjects directed at helping the country reduce the harm caused by substance abuse.The federal government has adopted a policy that makes substance abuse block grant funding contingent upon states effectively enforcing laws prohibiting the distribution of tobacco to minors. This policy is commonly termed the "Synar regulations." The purpose of this project is to: (1) allow the public to compare the progress of the 50 states in improving compliance with youth access laws; (2) provide the public with information regarding the performance goals negotiated between the DHHS and the individual states; and (3) determine if states that fail to comply with the regulations are penalized. Three independent annual audits of the state progress reports to the DHHS will be conducted to determine: (1) if the state has enacted a law prohibiting the distribution of tobacco to minors; (2) if the state has provided the DHHS with the results of a scientifically conducted random survey of merchants; (3) what the rate of illegal sales is for the state; (4) if the state has demonstrated an improvement in the rate of illegal sales over the previous year; and (5) if the illegal sales rate is below that established as a target through negotiations with the DHHS. The audits will determine if each state is in compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the Synar law. The results will be compared to the funding decision made by the DHHS to determine how many states that were not in compliance nevertheless received funding. The audit results will be widely disseminated to spotlight the performance of the states and the DHHS in carrying out their responsibilities under this federal policy.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $99,999.00

Awarded on: 3/31/1997

Time frame: 4/1/1997 - 3/31/2001

Grant Number: 31604


University of Massachusetts Medical Center

55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, 01655-0001


Joseph R. DiFranza
Project Director