New actions on retailers, manufacturers to combat youth access to e-cigarettes | Statement from US FDA Commissioner



Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on forceful New actions focused on retailers, manufacturers to combat youth access to e-cigarettes as part of FDA’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan

As the number of children using e-cigarettes remains at epidemic levels, our enforcement work has been one cornerstone of our efforts to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco products. In recent months our vigorous enforcement efforts as part of the agency’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan have included a number of actions to combat the illegal sales of e-cigarettes to youth at brick-and-mortar and internet storefronts, as well as steps to target companies engaged in kid-friendly marketing that can increase the appeal of these products to youth.

Today, we’re taking several new actions, focused on both retailers and manufacturers, as part of our commitment to combat youth access to e-cigarettes. Because tobacco use is almost always initiated and established during adolescence, early intervention ‒ including making sure tobacco products aren’t being marketed to, sold to, or used by kids ‒ is critical.

First, we sent a letter today to the corporate management of Walgreen Co. to request a meeting to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores’ track record of violating the law by illegally selling tobacco products to kids. As we noted last month, in total, the company’s stores have racked up almost 1,800 violations across the country. They’re currently the top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22 percent of the more than 6,350 stores that we inspected having illegally sold tobacco products to minors. 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. This cannot possibly come as a surprise to corporate leadership, which is why I want to sit down with them to discuss the important role they play, as a nationwide retailer, in curbing this epidemic.

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