The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that the first round of warning letters have been sent to retailers found to be selling newly regulated tobacco products–which includes cigars, e-cigarettes and e-liquids–to minors.
The list features a number of convenience store chains as well as independent retailers and a few cigar stores. While most of the products named in the report as being sold to minors are e-cigarettes and vaping liquids, there were a few products made by premium cigar companies included, namely General Cigar Co.’s CAO Cherry Bomb and a cigar from Miami Cigar & Co.’s Tatiana brand, both of which are flavored cigars.
The release of the list comes just over a month after FDA regulation of cigars, e-cigarettes and e-liquids went into effect on Aug. 8. Retailers are prohibited from selling any of these items to persons under 18 years of age, and are required to check photo ID of anyone under age 27, among other restrictions.
“We’re helping protect the health of America’s youth by enforcing restrictions that make it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors – including e-cigarettes, e-liquids and cigars. Retailers play a vital role in keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of children and we urge them to take that responsibility seriously,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, via a press release. “It’s clear from these initial compliance checks that there’s a need for strong federal enforcement of these important youth access restrictions.”
FDA has been conducting compliance checks since the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act went into effect. The agency, on its own or through contracts, conducts inspections in 56 states and territories. When violations are found, the agency generally issues warning letters before it pursues enforcement actions, including civil money penalties and no tobacco sale orders. Since 2009, the FDA says that it has conducted more than 660,000 inspections of tobacco product retail establishments, issued more than 48,900 warning letters to retailers for violating the law and initiated more than 8,290 civil money penalty cases.
The complete list of 55 stores receiving warning letters from FDA for selling newly regulated products to minors can be found here.