"The perceived availability of cigarettes continued a long-term decline in 8th and 10th grade to historic low levels. After holding fairly steady at very high levels for some years, perceived availability reported by 8th and 10th graders began to decline modestly after 1996, very likely as a result of increased enforcement of laws prohibiting sale to minors under the Synar Amendment and FDA regulations. The proportion of 8th graders saying that they could get cigarettes fairly or very easily fell from 77% in 1996 to 56% in 2010, and was at 43% in 2019. Over the same interval, the decline among 10th graders was from 91% in 1996 to 58% in 2019. These are encouraging changes and suggest that government and local efforts to reduce accessibility to adolescents – particularly younger adolescents – seem to be working.

"In 12th grade the availability of cigarettes also decreased in 2019, although in this grade trend data are available starting in 2017. In 2019, 75% of 12th grade students reported ready availability of cigarettes, down from 78% in 2017. Availability may decline considerably in the coming years as a result of federal legislation signed into law on December 20, 2019 that makes it illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product to anyone under 21 years of age. The cigarette availability measures of 2017-2019 serve as a good “before” measure for future evaluations of the impact of this new law."


Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Patrick, M. E. (2020). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2019: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.