Every day nearly 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette and 1,000 kids under 18 become daily smokers. Virtually all new users of tobacco products are under the minimum legal age to purchase such products. Many of these kids will become addicted before they are old enough to understand the risks and will ultimately die too young of tobacco-related diseases.
FDA is working to protect the health of America’s children and ultimately reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco use by enforcing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) and Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents. This regulation, which took effect on June 22, 2010, limits the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to protect the health of children and adolescents.
FDA works to inform retailers about these laws through the Break the Chain of Tobacco Addition campaign. FDA will also host a series of Compliance Training for Tobacco Retailers, to be held on March 29, April 26, May 18, June 28, July 26, and September 20, 2011, to provide retailers with training on federal tobacco regulations.
Last year, in order to help enforce these laws, FDA awarded contracts to 15 states to assist in inspecting retail establishments that sell cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco products. In the upcoming years, FDA plans to award enforcement contracts to all states and U.S. territories to assist with enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act.
The goal of the State Enforcement Program is to improve public health and to protect young people by bringing enforcement action against retailers who violate the law. State inspectors under these FDA enforcement contracts conduct compliance check inspections to determine if retailers comply with the law, including whether the retailer:
- sells a tobacco product to a minor;
- requests proper identification;
- sells prohibited flavored cigarettes or individual cigarettes; and
- sells tobacco products in a self-service display, like a vending machine, which can be accessed by minors.
We appreciate the efforts and commitment of all states who have contracted with FDA to assist in enforcing the Tobacco Control Act and FDA regulation. More than 95 Warning Letters have been issued to retailers for illegal sales of cigarettes and/or smokeless tobacco to minors. FDA’s website posts Warning Letters that have been issued as well as a list of retailers that have been inspected and where no violations were observed.
We encourage anyone who is aware of retailers who may violate the Tobacco Control Act to report violations to FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products through our website, by email or by phone (1-877-CTP-1373).
Director, Office of Compliance and Enforcement
I am pleased to announce that many portions of FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) website are now available in Spanish. This new resource for the Spanish-speaking community will provide key information to our stakeholders in our common goal of reducing the tremendous toll of illness and death from tobacco use through FDA’s new role in tobacco product regulation. By increasing access to our content to the Spanish-speaking public we not only increase the reach of our message, but also make further in-roads into communities that play a key role in tackling this important public health issue.
Over the last several months, I’ve heard from many stakeholders in a number of ways about the overall need for CTP to provide key tobacco product information in different languages. This was echoed by a request from a woman named Sarah who submitted a request for low-literacy handouts in multiple languages to our CTP Tobacco Ideas Forum (which is a novel way for the public to submit a thought and then have it voted on by other stakeholders). Input like this from the general public, combined with what we’ve learned through many other communication channels, has led to the launch of this Spanish-version website. The first of several plain language handouts similar to what Sarah, and many others have requested, as well as a variety of free resources and tools are now available. These include:
- The Break the Chain of Tobacco Addiction retailer education campaign web area, which includes translated printed materials that can be ordered online;
- An digital timeline of the Tobacco Control Act, which highlights past achievements and upcoming deadlines required by the Act;
- Multiple ways to connect with the us through social media;
- Federal resources on youth tobacco prevention, effective treatment for nicotine addiction, and tobacco research and statistics;
- And much more!
I encourage you to check out www.fda.gov/tabaco and let us know what you think. I also hope you will contribute to the CTP Tobacco Ideas Forum. We are listening and want your ideas to improve our efforts to effectively disseminate information about FDA tobacco regulations and to develop innovative ways to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco products use.
–Lawrence R. Deyton, M.S.P.H., M.D., Director, FDA Center for Tobacco Products
Materials Available from FDA Basics Webinar on FDA’s role in ensuring the safety of the nation’s blood supply
Did you miss the FDA Basics webinar about FDA’s vital role in ensuring the safety of the nation’s blood supply? You can learn about FDA’s five overlapping layers of blood safety and review rules that are designed to make sure we have a safe and available blood supply, including rules related to donor screening and testing of blood for blood-borne infectious agents.
You can also find materials from past FDA Basics webinars.
Upcoming Event: Did you know that FDA plays a vital role in ensuring the safety of the nation’s blood supply?
As part of FDA Basics, FDA is hosting a webinar where you can learn more FDA’s role in ensuring the safety of the nation’s blood supply. The featured speaker, Richard Davey, MD, Director of the Division of Blood Applications, Office of Blood Research and Review in FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, will discuss how the agency safeguards the nation’s blood supply and protects the five million people who receive blood transfusions annually. Dr. Davey will provide an overview of these safeguards and will focus on the donor screening process and the testing of blood for blood-borne infectious agents. After the presentation, there will an opportunity to ask questions.
The free 30 minute webinar will be held Tuesday, February 15th, at 2 p.m. ET.
There are a limited number of spots available for the webinar. Materials from the webinar will also be available on the FDA web site.
Click here for more information about the webinar, including instructions about how to join the webinar.
Ann Witt, Transparency Initiative Coordinator
Today, FDA launched a new video blog that will focus on women’s health issues. The videos for this blog can be found here on the Transparency blog and on the FDA YouTube channel.
February 4th is National Wear Red Day which means women across the country will be wearing red to help raise awareness of women’s heart disease. Nearly 43 million women, one-third of all women in America, are living with or are at risk for heart disease. By some estimates that number could rise significantly by 2030. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death among women, claiming more lives than chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and lung cancer combined.
This video is part of our department’s The Heart Truth campaign, which gives women a wakeup call about the risks of heart disease but also supports them as they manage and avoid those risks. The campaign asks women to talk to their doctor, find out their risk, and take action today to lower it.
Please watch our video blog and let us know what you think in the comment area below so we can continue to improve these videos and better address your needs.
You can also find more women’s heart health information and materials at www.fda.gov/womenshearthealth.
Ann Witt, Transparency Initiative Coordinator
FDA Posts First Annual Report Measuring FDA’s Success in Receiving Early Warning About Problems with Food and Animal Feed
The Reportable Food Registry (RFR or Registry) is an electronic portal for industry to report when there is a reasonable probability that an article of food will cause serious adverse health consequences. The Registry helps the FDA better protect public health by tracking patterns and targeting inspections. The Food and Drug Administration Amendments ACt of 2007 directed FDA to establish a Reportable Food Registry for industry. The Registry applies to all FDA-regulated categories of food and animal feed (including pet food). Dietary supplements and infant formula are not included.
FDA has posted on the FDA Web site the first annual report that measures the agency’s success in receiving early warning about problems about human food and animal feed. The report, entitled “The Reportable Food Registry: A New Approach to Targeting Inspection Resources and Identifying Patterns of Adulteration,” includes information about the number and types of reports submitted to the Registry, as well as FDA initiatives launched in response to information from the Registry.
Afia Asamoah, Transparency Initiative Coordinator
Materials Available from FDA Basics Webinar on the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products State Enforcement Program
Did you miss the FDA Basics webinar about FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products State Enforcement Program? FDA is contracting with states and U.S. Territories to help with compliance and enforcement activities in order to limit the availablity of tobacco products to young people.
Materials from the webinar are now available on the FDA Basics website.
Check out the “What’s New” tab on the FDA Basics homepage to download materials from the webinar. We have posted a link to view and listen to the 30 minute webinar and posted a link to download a copy of the presentation slides.
You can find materials from past FDA Basics webinars here.
Afia Asamoah, Transparency Initiative Coordinator