New Tobacco Stings Lead to 1200 Warnings

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which amended the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, focused heavily on the prevention of youth smoking. One of the largest measures was to prevent retailers from selling tobacco products to minors, and in the past year the FDA gave $24 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia to improve enforcement. A recent sting operation conducted in 15 states resulted in Warning Notices being sent to 1200 retailers. The majority of the notices were focused on selling tobacco products to minors.

As of November, 2011, FDA-commissioned officials have conducted more than 27,500 compliance checks. Retail inspections focus on sale and distribution restrictions, including:

  • age and ID verification
  • requirements for labeling and advertising of smokeless tobacco products
  • restrictions on the sale of single cigarettes
  • a ban on certain candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes
  • prohibited self service displays and vending machines

According to the director of compliance and enforcement for the tobacco center, a first violation gets a warning letter, while a second violation can result in a $250 fine, and five violations within 36 months can result in a ban on a store from selling tobacco. Beginning in October the FDA also began inspecting tobacco product manufacturers, which marks the first time the FDA inspected tobacco facilities.