Tobacco Retailers and the FDA
On June 22, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a rule that restricts the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco products to protect children and adolescents. The rule is required by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and is intended to protect kids by making tobacco products less accessible and attractive to them.
- Check photo ID of everyone appearing under age 27 who attempts to purchase cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, or smokeless tobacco.
- Only sell cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco to anyone age 18 or older. **
- Only sell cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco in a direct, face-to-face exchange. ***
- Do NOT break open cigarette or smokeless tobacco packages to sell products in smaller amounts.
- Do NOT sell cigarette packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.
- Do NOT sell single cigarettes, also called "loosies".
- Do NOT give away free samples of cigarettes.
- Do NOT give away free samples of smokeless tobacco except from a "qualified adult-only facility."
- Do NOT sell flavored cigarettes or flavored cigarette tobacco (other than menthol).
* This is only a summary of the laws. For the full list of federal laws, visit: www.fda.gov/BreakTheChain.
** Retailers must also follow state tobacco laws, even if they are more restrictive. For example, in some states the minimum age is 19.
*** The sale of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco through vending machines and self-service displays are allowed in adult-only facilities where no person younger than 18 is permitted to enter. Please note that tobacco product vending machines are banned in some states.
Why Are These Laws Important?
These laws are designed to make regulated tobacco products less accessible and less attractive to youth. Every day nearly 3,800 kids try their first cigarette and 1,000 kids become daily smokers. Many of these children will become addicted before they are old enough to understand the risks, and they will ultimately die of tobacco-related diseases. As a retailer, you play an important role in protecting children and adolescents by complying with the law.
Join Us in Breaking the Chain of Tobacco Addiction
Join the FDA retailer education campaign, Break the Chain of Tobacco Addiction. Visit www.fda.gov/BreakTheChain for free training, tools, tips, resources, and contests. Visit the FDA Center for Tobacco Products Clearinghouse to order eye-catching promotional materials including the Break the Chain of Tobacco Addiction campaign materials.