Preventing Youth Access

Act 112

Pennsylvania’s Act 112 prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors, and federal law bans the sale of all tobacco products including e-cigarettes and vaping pens (known as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or ENDS) to those under 18 years of age.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has authorized Tobacco Free Allegheny to conduct compliance checks on all tobacco retailers in Allegheny County.  Currently we have teams of adults and minors in the field to ensure that retailers are in compliance with the law.

Learn more about Act 112 and the responsibilities of retailers.


The Synar Amendment was developed in the context of a growing body of evidence about the health problems related to tobacco use by youth, as well as evidence about the ease with which youth could purchase tobacco products through retail sources. Evaluation results show that the Synar program has reduced youth access to tobacco through retail sources.

States have made considerable progress in attaining the goals of the Synar legislation. In addition to laws banning sales to people under the age of 18, states also have enacted legislation limiting youth access to tobacco products. This includes legislation that:

  • Restricts tobacco vending machines
  • Requires “age of sale” signs
  • Creates a graduated system of civil or criminal penalties for outlet owners and/or clerks
  • Requires statewide merchant education
  • Specifies state enforcement authority
  • Requires random, unannounced inspections
  • Requires licensure of tobacco retailers
  • Allows people under the age of 18 to conduct compliance checks
  • Provides immunity to youth who conduct compliance checks

Read more about the Synar program.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Tobacco Retail Compliance

To protect the health of future generations, FDA closely monitors retailer, manufacturer, importer, and distributor compliance with Federal tobacco laws and regulations and takes corrective action when violations occur.

Learn more about tobacco retail compliance.

Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

On June 22, 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) became law granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health generally and to reduce tobacco use by minors. Currently the law applies to cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigarette tobacco.

Learn more about the partnership between the FDA and Synar,

Retailer Toolkit

Retail managers and associates play a critical role in restricting youth access to tobacco products. We’ve created a free toolkit that is meant to serve as a guide that will help you, and your employees, understand and follow the law.

Click here to learn more