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FDA aims to protect kids from illegal sales of e-cigarettes

In August last year, the US introduced new regulations that include making it illegal to sell e-cigarettes, e-liquids, cigars and other tobacco products to anyone aged under 18 and requiring retailers to check photo IDs of anyone under the age of 27.

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Less than one month after the regulations came into effect and after conducting various compliance checks, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took action against a number of tobacco retailers for continuing to sell products to minors, who could buy these newly-regulated tobacco products in various youth-appealing flavours, such as cotton candy, bubble gum and gummy bear.

As a result of the compliance checks, 55 tobacco retailers were issued with warning letters. Commenting on the enforcement operation, Mitch Zeller JD, director of the FDA’s Centre for Tobacco Products, stressed the vital role played by retailers in keeping the newly-regulated tobacco products out of the hands of minors and the importance of strong federal enforcement of the new regulations.

Dramatic uptake in e-cigarette consumption

Before the ruling that expended the authority of the FDA to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and liquids, there was no federal prohibition on their sale to children. Data shows that there was an increase of more than 900 per cent in the use of e-cigarettes by high school students between 2011 and 2015 and that high school boys in the US smoked cigars at approximately the same rate as cigarettes.

Ongoing FDA oversight

Against the backdrop of a federal compliance environment in which many firms require the services of specialists such as http://www.fdathirdpartyreview.com/ to manage the FDA 510k clearance submission process, the FDA continues to closely monitor retailer compliance with federal laws and restrictions regarding tobacco sales. When such violations are found, warning letters are generally issued by the agency before it pursues enforcement actions, including no tobacco sale orders and civil money penalties.

Since 2009, when the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was passed, the FDA has conducted more than 660,000 inspections of tobacco product retail establishments and initiated more than 8,290 civil money penalty cases. In addition to monitoring compliance, the FDA’s enforcement and tobacco compliance programme works with the tobacco industry and retailers to ensure that they understand how to comply with federal regulations, providing training opportunities and compliance education.