FDA Calls Out 15 Chains for Selling Tobacco to Minors

Agency records violation rates as high as 44% among certain retailers
Photography: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — Fifteen retailers are on the hot seat for allegedly selling tobacco products to minors and face a new level of scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is asking all of them to share the policies they have in place to prevent such transactions.

Using undercover operatives posing as underage customers, the FDA said six of the 15 named retailers had violation rates in the range of 35% to 44% of inspected stores. These included six oil company brands: Marathon, Exxon, Sunoco, BP, CITGO and Mobil.

Four brands—Shell, Chevron, Casey's General Stores and 7-Eleven—had violation rates of 25% to 34% of inspected stores. And five brands—Family Dollar, Kroger, Walgreens, Circle K and Walmart—had violation rates of 15% to 24% of inspected stores.

“We will ask them to share with us what policies they have in place and what more they can commit to do to prevent youth tobacco sales,” the agency said. “Companies should be on notice that the FDA is considering additional enforcement avenues to address high rates of violations.”

Earlier this year, the FDA singled out Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens as having almost 1,800 violations across the country. “They’re currently the top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with 22% of the more than 6,350 stores that we inspected having illegally sold tobacco products to minors,” the agency said.


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