Home > Transparency Posts > FDA Continues to Issue Warning Letters for Illegal Tobacco Sales to Minors

FDA Continues to Issue Warning Letters for Illegal Tobacco Sales to Minors

Every day nearly 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette and 1,000 kids under 18 become daily smokers. Virtually all new users of tobacco products are under the minimum legal age to purchase such products. Many of these kids will become addicted before they are old enough to understand the risks and will ultimately die too young of tobacco-related diseases.

FDA is working to protect the health of America’s children and ultimately reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco use by enforcing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) and Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents. This regulation, which took effect on June 22, 2010, limits the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to protect the health of children and adolescents.

FDA works to inform retailers about these laws through the Break the Chain of Tobacco Addition campaign. FDA will also host a series of Compliance Training for Tobacco Retailers, to be held on March 29, April 26, May 18, June 28, July 26, and September 20, 2011, to provide retailers with training on federal tobacco regulations.

Last year, in order to help enforce these laws, FDA awarded contracts to 15 states to assist in inspecting retail establishments that sell cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products. In the upcoming years, FDA plans to award enforcement contracts to all states and U.S. territories to assist with enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act.

The goal of the State Enforcement Program is to improve public health and to protect young people by bringing enforcement action against retailers who violate the law. State inspectors under these FDA enforcement contracts conduct compliance check inspections to determine if retailers comply with the law, including whether the retailer:

  • sells a tobacco product to a minor;
  • requests proper identification;
  • sells prohibited flavored cigarettes or individual cigarettes; and
  • sells tobacco products in a self-service display, like a vending machine, which can be accessed by minors.

We appreciate the efforts and commitment of all states who have contracted with FDA to assist in enforcing the Tobacco Control Act and FDA regulation. More than 95 Warning Letters have been issued to retailers for illegal sales of cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco to minors. FDA’s website posts Warning Letters that have been issued as well as a list of retailers that have been inspected and where no violations were observed.

We encourage anyone who is aware of retailers who may violate the Tobacco Control Act to report violations to FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products through our website, by email or by phone (1-877-CTP-1373).

Thank you,
Ann Simoneau
Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement

  1. March 30, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I think it is great the the FDA is moving to enforce the restrictions in the law but I also think work must be done to find ways to redirect the behavior so there is less demand.

  2. March 31, 2011 at 9:27 am

    very interresting post 🙂 thank’s

  3. April 1, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I am pleased to hear that the FDA is trying to keep cigarettes out of the hands of kids.I wish there was a way to keep them out of the hands of adults.Cancer is awful to everyone it touches.

    • Stan
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  4. April 4, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    It’s really a cool and helpful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. April 7, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I quit smoking a year ago but all my friends are still smoking and I don’t know what to do to make them quit.

  6. April 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    What will happen if retailers will be found selling cigarettes to minors? In my opinion, to be better implement the law, a large fine should be charged against retailers that are caught selling cigarettes to minors.

  7. Abby
    April 11, 2011 at 2:48 am

    The FDA has a set a goal of establishing contracts with every U.S. state and territory which would assist in investigations of establishments that have sold tobacco products to minors. I think this is a great idea and would support these contracts in every state. The FDA should also consider the number of minors who receive tobacco products from older friends, acquaintances, etc. We should commend the retailers who have had no offenses and keep a watchful eye on those establishments who have sold tobacco products to minors. Asking to see ID takes no more than a few seconds and is an easy step to sway minors away from purchasing tobacco products. Thank you to the FDA for making this information available.

  8. April 18, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    cigarettes must be strictly controlled, especially sales to children

  9. May 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    The start of this article shocked me . In particular “Virtually all new users of tobacco products are under the minimum legal age to purchase such products”

    I had never thought about this before but it makes perfect sense you never see people start smoking at 25, 30 , 45 .That would seem crazy giving the data on smoking related illness.The people addicted to smoking must have started when they were at a young age.

    An eye opening article for me , Thanks 😉

  10. June 1, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    The kids have to be protected from tobacco

  11. Pheromones
    July 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Thank god my kids do not smoke. I saw my mom fade away from smoking. I wish these kids would learn before it is too late.

  12. Feromonas
    July 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Smoking is not cool or is it fashionable. It smells bad and makes you smell bad too. Wake up Kids.

  13. August 16, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    cigarettes is more nocive than other drugs

  14. September 21, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    The kids have to be protected from tobacco…

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    good information for everyone.

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