FDA Acts to Stop Illegal Tobacco Sales to Kids

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Nov. 10 2011

WASHINGTON, DC —We applaud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for taking aggressive action to stop illegal tobacco sales to America's children, which is an important component of the landmark 2009 law granting the agency authority over tobacco products.

The FDA announced today that it has sent warning letters to more than 1,200 retailers, the majority of which involve selling tobacco to minors. Retailers face civil monetary penalties if they continue to violate the law. The FDA also announced that it has conducted 27,500 retail compliance checks to enforce the law and in 2011 awarded compliance contracts totaling more than $24 million to 38 states. Retail inspections check for compliance with important provisions of the law, including requirements for age and ID verification when selling tobacco products, labeling and advertising requirements, restrictions on the sale of single cigarettes, a ban on candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, and prohibitions on tobacco self-service display and vending machines.

The FDA's regulation of tobacco products, including retail enforcement activities, is funded entirely with user fees paid by tobacco companies.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people and costing nearly $100 billion in health care bills each year. Nearly 90 percent of all adult smokers begin while in their teens or earlier.  Every day, another 1,000 kids become regular smokers, one-third of whom will die prematurely as a result. The FDA's effective enforcement will help stop tobacco marketing and sales to kids, preventing them from becoming addicted to tobacco and saving lives.

 

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