Tobacco Control Issues

Youth Access Laws

Youth access laws prohibit the sale or distribution of tobacco products to minors.  Youth access laws may also require retailers to keep cigarettes and other tobacco products behind the counter, and ban cigarette vending machines or restrict them to adult-only locations.  Youth access laws and enforcement vary significantly among states and local municipalities.  Act 112 of 2002 prohibits the sale of tobacco to minors in Pennsylvania.  In Pennsylvania, local youth access laws are preempt, meaning that they can not be stricter than or differ from the state law.

Act 112 at a glance

Where do youth smokers get their cigarettes?

Youth Tobacco Use

The Pennsylvania Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) samples the behaviors and attitudes of Pennsylvania youth toward tobacco.  YTS measures tobacco use prevalence, attitudes toward tobacco use, exposure to tobacco advertising and counter-marketing, and exposure to tobacco use among Pennsylvania middle school and high school students.

Cigarette Sales to Minors

The Annual SYNAR Report is used to gather information from states about the sale/distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18.  SYNAR measures compliance progress in regard to youth access laws, activities and enforcement.  According to the 2013 Pennsylvania SYNAR results, it is estimated that eight to thirteen percent of Pennsylvania cigarette outlets sell cigarettes to minors, up from seven to twelve from the previous year.