FDA Acts to Stop Illegal Tobacco Sales to Kids

Food_and_Drug_Administration_logoThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent Warning Letters to more than 1,200 retailers, the majority of which respond to violations relating to selling tobacco to minors, as part of its ongoing effort to reduce tobacco use among children.

While most retail establishments inspected by the FDA have been found to be in compliance with the law, some retailers are still selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to minors. Warning Letters may be followed by civil money penalties if retailers continue to violate the law.

“It should worry every parent that 20 percent of U.S. high school students smoke cigarettes,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. “President Obama and the FDA are committed to preventing children from smoking. For many young people, that first cigarette or use of smokeless tobacco will lead to a lifetime of addiction, and for many, serious disease. More than 80 percent of adult smokers begin smoking before 18 years of age. Retailers are vital partners in the FDA’s efforts to prevent tobacco use among kids.”

President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that gives the FDA authority to regulate tobacco products to prevent use by minors and reduce the impact on public health. One of the law’s provisions permits the FDA to contract with states and territories to conduct compliance check inspections of tobacco retailers. In 2011, the FDA awarded compliance contracts totaling more than $24 million to 38 states, including the District of Columbia, supporting the creation of at least 266 jobs.

Read the full press release.

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