In the past 10 days, the FDA announced that contracts were awarded to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to begin conducting FDA-sponsored retail compliance inspections. Also, renewal contracts for state compliance inspections were awarded to the Arkansas Tobacco Control Board, the Missouri Department of Mental Health (Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse), and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (Regulatory Services Division). All of those NATO members operating stores in each of these five states will be receiving a special notice from NATO about these compliance inspections.
Generally, the inspectors are checking for the following:
1. No self-service displays of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or smokeless tobacco in a store that allows minors to be present.
2. No sales of individual cigarettes or "loosies" as they are referred to by FDA staff.
3. Store clerks must request and check photo identification of customers that are under 27 years old.
4. Store clerks do not sell tobacco products to an underage minor accompanying the inspector.
To date, more than 19,000 retail stores have been inspected and approximately 97% of the stores have been successful in passing the inspections. Retailers should note that these state-commissioned inspectors generally do not announce themselves to store personnel, and store personnel will not be aware that the inspectors were even in the store most of the time.
Click here for the FDA Web page that lists the 29 states plus the District of Columbia currently under contract to perform FDA compliance inspections.
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