FDA Steps Up Tobacco Enforcement
In an effort to curb underage smoking, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted a sting operation to locate retailers who illegally sell tobacco to minors. The FDA made 27,500 inspections nationwide and found only 1,200 retailers who needed warning letters for allowing the sales to underage individuals.
Ann Simoneau, Director of compliance and enforcement for FDA´s Center for Tobacco Products told Convenience Store News, “The fact that youths can walk into 1,200 retail locations and buy tobacco products is 1,200 too many.”
The retailers were found to be in violation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law by President Obama in June 2009. The law gives the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products in order to prevent use by underage youths and reduce the impact on public health.
The law also gives the FDA the authority to contract with states to conduct compliance inspections of tobacco retail locations. This year the FDA awarded the inspection contracts to 38 states at a cost of $24 million creating at least 266 jobs, according to Convenience Store News.
According to the FDA, retailers were in violation of compliance requirements that relate to age and ID verification, labeling and advertising of smokeless tobacco products, restrictions on the sale of single cigarettes, ban on certain candy-flavored cigarettes, and prohibited self service displays and vending machines.
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