The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has initiated enforcement action against multiple locations of Walgreen Co. and Circle K Stores. According to the FDA, these retailers have repeatedly selling and distributing various tobacco products–including cigars and menthol cigarettes–to minors.
A Walgreens located in Miami, Florida and a Circle K in Charleston, South Carolina, are part of this issue. The FDA has filed complaints seeking No-Tobacco-Sale Orders (NTSO) against the two specific retail locations that were found to be in violation. This order would prevent these locations from selling tobacco products for 30 days.
“I will be writing the corporate management of Walgreens and requesting a meeting with them to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores’ non-compliance and put them on notice that the FDA is considering additional enforcement avenues to address their record of violative tobacco sales to youth,” commented Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA Commissioner. “We all share the important responsibility of keeping harmful and addictive tobacco products out of the hands of kids. Retailers in particular – especially those who position themselves as health-and-wellness-minded businesses – are on the frontlines of these efforts and must take that legal obligation seriously. I’m also deeply disturbed that a single pharmacy chain racked up almost 1,800 violations for selling tobacco products to minors across the country. I have particular concerns about whether the pharmacy setting is influencing consumer and retailer perceptions around tobacco products in a way that’s contributing to these troubling findings.