CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services recently released a report showing tobacco sales to youth in New Hampshire increased over the past year.
According to recent tobacco compliance checks tobacco sales to New Hampshire youth increased by about 5 percent to 13.2 percent in 2012 from 7.8 percent in 2011.
“While the results of the checks were well under the federal SYNAR requirement of 20 percent, this does raise concerns,” said BDAS director Joe Harding. “Research shows that lower tobacco use by youth also decreases the chance that they will use drugs or alcohol.”
Data from the NH Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrated that youth tobacco use dramatically increases their use of other substances. The results of 22,000 student surveyed in the 2007 YRBS revealed that 27 out of 28 high school students who smoked also reported drinking.
SYNAR is a federally mandated effort to reduce tobacco sales to youth. Two hundred ninety-one tobacco retailers across the state were surveyed in this year’s effort.
BDAS partners with the NH Division of Liquor Enforcement, to conduct and report on the results of the compliance checks. In addition, DLE has been contracted by the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct additional tobacco retailer compliance checks. BDAS and DLE plan to increase efforts to lower the number of sales, which declined for the two previous years.
These efforts will include increased coordination with local law enforcement and other educational efforts.