FDA Compliance Check Webinar Update

Users can search compliance inspections
FDA logo

LAKEVILLE, Minn. —The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a new webinar to assist users searching the agency’s database of retail compliance inspections. These compliance check inspections of tobacco product retailers are conducted to determine a retailer’s compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The FDA contracts with state agencies to perform these tobacco compliance checks. Results from these compliance checks of brick-and-mortar tobacco retailers are then entered into their searchable database.  

The database lists the results of the compliance check. The possible outcomes of the compliance check are pass (by not selling a tobacco product to an underage decoy), issuance of a warning letter or civil money penalty (i.e., a fine) for violating federal tobacco regulations, issuance of a “no tobacco sales order” prohibiting the sale of tobacco products at a store that has had at least six violations of federal tobacco regulations, or a statement of no violations observed.  

The database is searchable in several categories. These include retailer store name, city, state, zip code, compliance check decision date and inspection results. There is also an option to search by product type. Users can filter the results from a drop-down menu that includes cigar, cigarette tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery system, hookah tobacco, roll your own and smokeless tobacco. It also allows users to select if an underage purchaser was used in the inspection or if a sale occurred to an underaged purchaser.  

Search results will be populated in a table format with searchable drop-down fields. These reports can be exported to Excel for further review and can be printed. They also include links for additional help on how to search the database and include frequently asked questions. 

Generally, the FDA does not inform retailers if they successfully pass a compliance check by not incurring a violation. Retailers only receive warning letters and fines from the FDA if they violated federal tobacco regulations. For this reason, it is important for retailers to regularly search the compliance check database to determine if their store was the subject of a compliance check inspection and to obtain the outcome of the inspection. These reports are usually updated monthly. 

Watch the webinar here.

Thomas A. Briant is the executive director of NATO, a tobacco retailing association based in Lakeville, Minn. Reach him at

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