FDA Issues First Retailer Warning Letters Under Deeming Rule

SILVER SPRING, Md. — One month after the deeming rule went into effect, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued its first warning letters to retailers in violation of the new regulations.

The agency has taken action against 55 tobacco retailers for selling the newly regulation tobacco products — including electronic cigarettes, cigars and e-liquids — to minors. 

According to the FDA, during compliance checks at major national retail chains, tobacco specialty stores and online retailers, children were able to purchase some of these products in a variety of flavors that appeal to youth, including bubble gum, cotton candy, and gummy bear  flavors.

In May the FDA released its final deeming rule extending its regulatory authority to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and cigars. The issuance comes two years after the agency first released its proposed deeming rule. The authority also extends to hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, as CSNews Online previously reported.

The rule includes provisions prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes, hookah tobacco or cigars to people under age 18. The provisions, which went into effect Aug. 8, include:

  • Not allowing products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 (both in person and online);
  • Requiring age verification by photo ID;
  • Not allowing the selling of covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility); and
  • Not allowing the distribution of free samples.


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