In the United States, children and teens constitute the majority of all new smokers (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2014). The earlier young people begin using tobacco products, the more likely they are to use them as adults and the longer they will remain users (Institute of Medicine, 2015). Two of the four key goals the Wyoming Tobacco Prevention and Control Program (TPCP) shares with the federal tobacco prevention and control program are to (a) reduce youth initiation of tobacco use (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014) and (b) promote quitting tobacco use, including among youth (CDC, 2015).
In 1992, the United States Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act, which includes an amendment (section 1926) aimed at decreasing youth access to tobacco. This amendment, signed by President George H. W. Bush and named for its sponsor, former Representative Mike Synar (Democrat, Oklahoma), requires states to adopt and enforce state laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to youth under the age of 18.
“Activities to increase restrictions on tobacco product sales and availability” are key to reducing “availability of tobacco products” and “susceptibility to experimentation with tobacco products.” Over time, these activities reduce initiation of tobacco use, the prevalence of tobacco use among young people, and the morbidity and mortality that result from tobacco use (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2014, p. 21). The Synar amendment and related monitoring of compliance with state laws against selling tobacco products to minors are key parts of tobacco prevention efforts nationally and in Wyoming.
The Prevention Needs Assessment (PNA) is a biannual survey of Wyoming 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. It measures attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions related to alcohol, tobacco, drug use, and problem behaviors. https://www.pnasurvey.org/