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Engagement With American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Governments

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FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) understands the importance of collaboration and consultation, as appropriate, with federally-recognized tribal governments, per FDA Tribal Consultation Policy and Executive Order 13175, on the implementation and enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act and related regulations. CTP respects tribal sovereignty and honors the government-to-government relationship we have with federally-recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.

Federally-Recognized Tribes: Working With CTP

American Indian and Alaska Native population has the highest prevalence of cigarette smoking (about 29%) compared to any other population group in the United States.1 We appreciate that many tribal governments have been working actively to reduce commercial tobacco use within their tribes and to prevent smoking and other commercial tobacco use among tribal youth. Through a collaborative partnership, we can protect the health of Native communities, including youth, by ensuring compliance with the Tobacco Control Act.

We maintain contact with Tribal governments and communities, including Tribal government leaders, Tribal health leaders, public health professionals, and other relevant federal agencies, by various methods:

Manufacturers on Tribal Lands

If you make, modify, mix, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, process, label, repack, relabel, or import any "tobacco product," then you are considered a tobacco product "manufacturer" and must comply with FDA's tobacco regulations for manufacturers, as applicable.

Manufacturer Inspections on Tribal Lands

FDA inspects establishments engaged in the manufacture, compounding, or processing of regulated tobacco products to determine a manufacturer's compliance with FDA regulations.

Retailers on Tribal Lands

Retailers on tribal lands must comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations for retailers.

Retail Inspections on Tribal Lands

FDA inspects tobacco retailers to determine a retailer's compliance with FDA regulations.

FDA is authorized to award tobacco retail inspection contracts to States, Tribes, Territories, and third parties to conduct retail inspections. FDA has awarded contracts within Tribal jurisdictions to help enforce Tobacco Control Act regulations within those jurisdictions. FDA may also use its own personnel to conduct retailer inspections.

FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products webinar, “FDA Commercial Tobacco Retail Compliance Check Inspection Program,” provides an overview of compliance check inspections. Specifically, this webinar describes a contracting opportunity for federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes.

The Tobacco Control Act specifically prohibits FDA from contracting with any state to exercise enforcement authority under the Tobacco Control Act in Indian Country without the express written consent from the tribe involved.

Traditional (Ceremonial) Tobacco Use

The FDA does not regulate the use of traditional (ceremonial) tobacco. The FDA understands and respects the use of traditional tobacco by Native tribes.

Contact CTP

We invite tribes to engage in a collaborative and respectful government‐to‐government approach to the implementation and enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act and its regulations.

  • Eshael Johnson, Stakeholder Relations Director
  • General Resources for Manufacturers, Compliance, etc.
  • Disputes? Conflicts? Not Sure Who To Contact? Contact our Ombudsman:
  • Call: 1-877-CTP-1373
  • Write: Center for Tobacco Products Food and Drug Administration
    Document Control Center
    10903 New Hampshire Avenue
    Building 71, Room G335
    Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002

Additional Resources

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Current cigarette smoking among adults – United States, 2005-2014. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2015; 64(44):1233-1240.


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