Guam reports 97% compliance with tobacco retail law
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Of the 321 tobacco retailers registered with the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation, only eight were found in violation of selling tobacco products to minors ages 16-20, according to this year's Synar Report.
Guam registered a 97 percent compliance rate this year, stated the inspection report released by the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center in conjunction with the Department of Revenue and Taxation. The compliance rate in 2022 increased from 88.1 percent in 2021.
The monitoring activity is mandated by the federal government’s Synar Amendment, which requires states and territories that receive Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funds to establish and enforce the minimum legal age for purchasing and using tobacco products.
In Guam, GBHWC and DRT are responsible for conducting random and unannounced tobacco retail compliance checks in all 19 villages.
GBHWC and DRT as well as the Department of Public Health & Social Services are all jointly responsible for carrying out Guam's Tobacco Control Act of 1998 and The Youth Protection Act of 2017 to ensure islandwide efforts for youth nicotine use prevention such as controlling retail access for anyone under the age of 21.
These establishments were thus issued citations and fines consisting of penalties ranging from $1,000 up to $5,000 per violation. This year’s inspections reflect a 97 percent retail compliance rate, an increase from the previous year’s rate of 88.1 percent.
“The Synar inspections is an annual initiative that allows us to collect accurate data about our tobacco retailers on the island. We are happy to share that as we regain our sense of normalcy post-Covid, our community guards are still up against other public health concerns we face in Guam – youth substance use like alcohol, tobacco and vape," GBHWC Director Theresa Arriola said.
"We hope to continue improving compliance rates and gain community-wide commitment to protect our island’s youth from the damaging effects of tobacco and nicotine products," she added.