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FDA criticizes retailers for selling tobacco to minors

04 Mar 2019. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accused several national retailers of repeatedly selling tobacco products to minors, The New York Times reported.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, that Walgreens, one of the nation’s largest drugstore chains, was the top violator among pharmacies selling tobacco products, with 22 per cent of more than 6,350 stores the FDA inspected having illegally sold them to minors, according to the report.

“The company’s stores have racked up almost 1,800 violations across the country,” Gottlieb was quoted as saying in a statement. “Both the rate of violations and sheer volume of violative inspections of Walgreens stores are disturbing, particularly since the company positions itself as a health-and-wellness-minded business.”

The agency said that its undercover inspection programme has revealed high rates of tobacco violations at many retailers. Illegal sales of cigarettes and e-cigarettes to young people were even higher at other national gas station and convenience store chains, the agency found, but it singled out Walgreens for its harshest criticism, the report said.

The FDA’s announcement states that the companies with the highest rate of illegal sales to minors were Marathon, Exxon, Sunoco, BP, Citgo and Mobil, where violations were found in 35 to 44 per cent of all inspected stores. According to the report, inspectors found illegal sales rates between 25 and 34 per cent at Shell, Chevron, Casey’s General Stores and 7-Eleven.