The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicly issued a notice to all the retail outlets caught illegally selling tobacco products, including e-cigarettes to minors.
The administration on Monday issued a list of 15 national stores that have been found breaching the conduct. This includes Marathon, Exxon, BP, Sunoco, Citgo, Shell, and 7-Eleven. The stores with the most violations were primarily major gas stations, convenience stores and retailers.
“The stakes are too high for our young people and our country’s decades-long fight to reduce the morbidity and mortality that accompanies tobacco product use,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. He added, “Retailers are on the frontlines of these efforts to reduce the health consequences of tobacco use and nicotine dependence.”
Gottlieb also requested a meeting with the corporate management of Walgreens “to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores’ track record of violating the law by illegally selling tobacco products to kids.”
FDA first raised the need for a meeting last month, after it was reported by them that the company’s stores came to a conclusion of almost 1,800 stores not following the conduct. FDA said 22 per cent of the 6,350 stores it has inspected, sold tobacco to minors.
However, in a statement issued by a Walgreen’s spokesman, it was confirmed that the company has now, welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Stating the zero tolerance policy as the focus of the discussions, the spokesman further affirmed that that any sale of tobacco product to minors is subject to immediate termination.
“While we recognize those [retailers] who have taken some positive steps to confront this epidemic, we also know there’s more for them to do and that bad actors continue to put youth at risk despite knowing the law and for their own financial gain,” Gottlieb said.
On the administration’s list are also the e-cigarettes, solely because of the epidemic caused by them. The use of tobacco has increased by 38 per cent among high school students in the last year, majorly contributed by e-cigarettes. As many as 5 million students reported using tobacco product in 2018 merely in a span of 30 days.