Pennsylvania's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Retail Tobacco Compliance Program
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
(Tobacco Control Act) became law on June 22, 2009. It gives the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution,
and marketing of tobacco products to protect public health.
Recognizes that virtually all new users
of tobacco products are under 18—the minimum legal age to purchase these
products. Many new users will become addicted before they are old enough to
understand the risks and ultimately may die too young of tobacco-related
diseases. The Tobacco Control Act seeks to, among other things, prevent and
reduce tobacco use by young people.
Recognizes that tobacco products are
legal products available for adult use, prohibits false or misleading labeling
and advertising for tobacco products and provides the tobacco industry with
several mechanisms to submit an application to FDA for new products or tobacco
products with modified risk claims.
Gives FDA enforcement authority as well
as a broad set of sanctions for violations of the law and directs FDA to
contract with states to assist FDA with retailer inspections.
highlights some of the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act and is not
intended to be a comprehensive guide or to reflect FDA’s interpretation of the
Tobacco Control Act. For additional information about the Tobacco Control Act
About the FDA’s
Center for Tobacco Products
The Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) oversees
the implementation of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
Some of the Agency’s responsibilities under the law include setting performance
standards, reviewing premarket applications for new and modified risk tobacco
products, requiring new warning labels, and establishing and enforcing
advertising and promotion restrictions.
The Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control
In response to this Act,
the FDA issued a Funding Opportunity
Announcement for state Tobacco Enforcement programs to conduct FDA Tobacco Compliance
Check Inspections for compliance with provisions of these regulations with
respect to retail outlets on behalf of the FDA.
Funds under this contract supplement state
tobacco enforcement funds and are restricted, by statute, for use only for the
FDA tobacco inspection efforts. The Division of Tobacco Prevention and
Control (Division) was awarded the first FDA contract in 2011. Through the FDA awards, Pennsylvania received
funding to conduct approximately 10,000 Tobacco Compliance Check Inspections
across the commonwealth per year.
FDA State Tobacco Compliance Check Inspection Results
If you witness a retailer selling tobacco to a minor (less than 18 years of age) or other unlawful sales practices, please report it to the FDA.
Report a Potential Tobacco Violation
Examples of Potential Tobacco Product Violations You Can Report to the
Reports can be
submitted anonymously; however, reports accompanied by names and contact
information are helpful in cases when FDA needs to follow up for more
information. The Potential Tobacco
Product Violations Form provides an opportunity for the public and other
stakeholders to report a variety of potential tobacco product violations that
include, but are not limited to:
- Sales to
- Flavored cigarette sales
restrictions (e.g., Describing the tobacco product as “light,” “mild,” or
“low” or claiming that the product is safer or less harmful without an FDA
order in effect; distributing t-shirts or other novelty items with the brand
name of a cigarette or smokeless tobacco product; and event sponsorship in
the brand name of a cigarette or smokeless tobacco product)
- Free samples
- Vending machines in prohibited
areas/self-service display/direct access to cigarette or smokeless tobacco
- Sale of cigarettes in packs of
less than 20
Tobacco Product Violations Reporting
Retailer Training Videos
tobacco compliance and enforcement program ensures that industry and retailers
follow existing laws designed to reduce the health burden of tobacco use on the
American public and protect America’s youth. Below are three videos to provide information
about the FDA’s rules and regulations.
with Tobacco Sale ID Requirements
retailers and retail employees must follow FDA’s age and ID requirements when
selling regulated tobacco products. It’s hard not to be tempted by peer pressure
from friends or co-workers. But, by following the regulations, such as not
selling to anyone under the age of 18, you can help protect minors from the
dangers of tobacco addiction.
Modes of Tobacco Sales
sell regulated tobacco in a direct, face-to-face exchange – unless the tobacco
products are being sold in a location where no minors are present or permitted
to enter at any time.
easier for minors to access regulated tobacco products if they are available
via self-service displays and vending machines. But FDA’s regulations are
designed to stop kids from obtaining tobacco. Watch the video below to learn
more about regulations related to impersonal modes of tobacco sales.
FDA’s Age and
ID Requirements for Sales of Regulated Tobacco
compliance and enforcement program includes inspecting tobacco retailers to
make sure they are not selling regulated tobacco products to anyone under the
age of 18, and that they are checking IDs to verify the age of customers under
the age of 27. The sale of tobacco products to minors is the most commonly
observed violation during inspections of retail stores.
follow FDA’s age and ID rules by following these steps:
- Request photo ID from customers
under the age of 27,
- Verify the customer’s age using
the photo ID,
- Verify that the appearance of the
customer matches the physical description and photo on the ID, and
For more information,
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction
Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control
625 Forster Street, Room 1032 Health and Welfare Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120