FDA Report Shows Significant Retail Compliance

95.6% of retailers did not sell to minors

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

FDA Compliance Report

MINNEAPOLIS -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has issued a “Compliance and Enforcement Report” covering the period from June 2009 through September 2013. The report details The FDA retail compliance inspections over the past four years and shows a very high success rate of retailers not selling tobacco products to underage youth.

On pages 13 and 16 of the Compliance and Enforcement Report, the FDA provides data about the agency’s retail compliance inspection program results. Since the inception of the agency’s retail compliance check program, there have been 221,774 compliance inspections on retailers that sell tobacco products. 

As a result of these 221,774 inspections, there have been only 9,786 instances of retailers selling tobacco products to a minor. This translates into a 95.6% success rate in retailers not selling tobacco products to underage youth. Moreover, only 6,533 instances occurred where a retailer failed to verify the age of a person purchasing tobacco products by means of photographic identification, which is a 97.1% success rate.

Often, when NATO responds to a proposed local tobacco ordinance, the FDA compliance check database maintained by the agency at www.fda.gov is reviewed to determine the compliance rate of retailers in the city or town that is proposing the adoption of tobacco regulations. Many times, the retailers in the city or town have a very high or even 100% passing rate and NATO informs the local government officials of this fact to demonstrate that retailers are complying with the law and that additional restrictions are not necessary since retailers are doing their job to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors.

The FDA’s report also lists the states that are under contract with the agency to conduct retail compliance inspections. Since the compliance inspections began in fiscal year 2010, the FDA has awarded retail compliance check contracts totaling more than $91 million dollars.  The states under contract and the amount received per state are shown on page 26 of the Compliance and Enforcement Report.  A full copy of this report can be found here.