A variety of retailers have been caught up in the latest round of warning letters issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after being accused of selling tobacco products to minors.
Among the retailers that received warning letters on April 5, 2-19, from the FDA include Kroger, Walmart, 7-Eleven, Family Dollar, Exxon, BP, Sunco, CITGO, Chevron, Shell, and Marathon Petroleum, among others.
“We all share the important responsibility of keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of kids,” wrote the FDA in its warning letter. “Retailers in particular are on the frontlines of these efforts to reduce the health consequences of tobacco use and nicotine dependence. Because tobacco use is almost always initiated and established during adolescence, early intervention–including making sure tobacco products aren’t being sold to minors–is critical.”
The FDA identified the retailers as having illegally sold tobacco products to minors since the start of the FDA’s retailer compliance check inspection program in 2010. The FDA goes so far as to scold the accused retailers, stating that violating the law that prevents tobacco products from being sold to minors and paying associated fines and penalties should not be “viewed as a cost of doing business.” In addition to asking the retailers to work closely with all of its stores to ensure they understand the importance of complying and not selling tobacco products to minors, the FDA also gave the retailers 30 days from receiving the letter to provide a written response that includes a detailed plan. The plans must include timeframes that address and mitigate illegal sales to minors at any store.
A list of the 12 accused companies, and copies of the letters each one received, can be viewed here.