It’s no secret that many retailers use advertising and marketing campaigns to reach minors in an effort to increase sales.

Unfortunately, this extends to the tobacco industry as well. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a warning letter to 55 companies with strict regulations on the marketing and sales of tobacco products to minors. 

The FDA stated that “during compliance checks at major national retail chains, tobacco specialty stores, and online retailers, children were able to purchase some of these newly regulated tobacco products in a variety of flavors that appeal to youth, including bubble gum, cotton candy, and gummy bear.” The warning letters were issued to both retail stores and online vendors. Failure to immediately rectify violations may result in financial penalties. If subsequent violations continue, the FDA may pursue a No-Tobacco-Sale Order (NTSO) against the retailer, prohibiting those stores from selling tobacco products completely for as long as 36 months. 

The FDA has a great deal of latitude in enforcing NTSOs in this process. According to the FDA, unannounced inspections will be enacted to ensure compliance. The FDA has clear rules over compliance and enforcement listed on their website, ensuring that all retailers know what is and isn’t acceptable marketing procedures when it comes to tobacco products.