The FDA began taking action yesterday against retailers who are still selling to minors in violation of the new regulations. The FDA had previously promised that they would be testing different stores to ensure compliance, and this is the first wave of warning letters since the regulations took effect last month.
The retailers were targeted for selling not just e-cigarettes and ejuice, but also cigars, hookah tobacco, and other newly regulated products to underage customers. The FDA regulations prevent retailers from selling to anyone under the age of 18 both online and in person, and require retailers to check the photo ID of anyone under the age of 27.
The compliance checks took place at major national retail chains, tobacco specialty stores, and online retailers.
Mitch Zeller, the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, made the following statement:
“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. It’s clear from these initial compliance checks that there’s a need for strong federal enforcement of these important youth access restrictions.”
The FDA generally sends warning letters before they start taking more drastic action, including fines and no-tobacco-sale orders.
If you’ve been wondering why online retailers have been requiring you to enter the last four of your social or requesting that you email your ID, this is why.