FDA warns 55 tobacco stores about sales to children

FDA warns 55 tobacco stores about sales to children
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on dozens of stores that it alleges sell electronic cigarettes to children.

The FDA sent warning letters on Thursday to 55 tobacco retailers it says continue to sell e-cigarettes to minors, even after such sales were prohibited last month as part of the agency’s deeming rule.

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“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,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

"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,” he added. "It’s clear from these initial compliance checks that there’s a need for strong federal enforcement of these important youth access restrictions.”

Previously, stores were prohibited from selling traditional cigarettes to children, but last month the rules were extended to also cover e-cigarettes, hookahs and cigars.

The FDA conducts routine compliance checks to ensure the rules are being followed. 

"During compliance checks at major national retail chains, tobacco specialty stores and online retailers, minors were able to purchase some of these newly regulated tobacco products in a variety of youth-appealing flavors, including bubble gum, cotton candy and gummy bear,” the FDA wrote.