FDA Increases Fines for Tobacco Retailer Violations

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Not only are premium cigar retailers now subject to FDA compliance inspections, they will have to pay higher fines should they be violate the agency’s regulations for retailers.

FDA has announced a 10 percent increase to its previous fine structure, which applies to penalties assessed after August 1, 2016, even if the associated violations occurred as far back as November 2, 2015.

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Number of ViolationsPrevious AmountAdjusted Amount
1$0 with a Warning Letter$0 with a Warning Letter
2 within a 12-month period$250$275
3 within a 24-month period$500$550
4 within a 24-month period$2,000$2,200
5 within a 36-month period$5,000$5,501
6 within a 48-month period$10,000$11,002

The increase comes by way of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, and as a result the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a new regulation that adjusts, for inflation, the civil money penalty amounts assessed against tobacco retailers who have violated the law.

FDA recently released a list of 55 retailers who violated sales regulations on newly regulated products, which include cigars, electronic cigarettes, vaping products and pipe tobacco. Retailers are prohibited from selling any of these items to persons under 18 years of age, and are required to check the photo ID of anyone under age 27, among other restrictions. The agency has been conducting compliance checks for cigarettes, moist snuff and other tobacco products since the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act went into effect.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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