FDA Increases Childrens’ Safety through Stronger Enforcement Against Tobacco Retailers

-Posted On November 19, 2011 In Children Safety-

The FDA is protecting children from tobacco in its recent action to send warning letters to more than 1,200 retailers, the majority of which respond to violations relating to selling tobacco to minors.  This is part of its ongoing effort to reduce tobacco use among children, a collaboration with President Obama’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

The good news is that most retail establishments inspected by the FDA have been found to be in compliance with the law.  Unfortunately, some retailers are still selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to minors, which will now result in fees if retailers continue to violate the law.

“It should worry every parent that 20% of U.S. high school students smoke cigarettes,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg. It’s a fact that more than 80% of adult smokers begin smoking before 18 years of age, not realizing that the addictive ingredient, nicotine, has taken control of their lives.

Teens don’t realize the harm they are doing to their lungs, and instead focus on how cool they are. The potential to lead to a lifetime of addiction escapes their thoughts. Even in the early stages of a smoker, the craving for another cigarette, the racing of the heart, and the belief that smoking a cigarette is stress relieving is all too prevalent. Partly due to Hollywood, but also due to the mass amount of adult smokers who are not willing or able to give it up. Young people have a false impression that smoking is cool.

This is why it’s up to the adults to lead by example. To those adults who are too addicted–and therefore not able to lead–we need to turn to the law to help. Our children need our help more than ever.

Secondhand smoke is another issue that affects us all, smokers and non-smokers alike. So the issue goes deeper than children copying adults. Children are harmed by secondhand smoke as it enters their lungs. This leads to bronchitis and other medical issues at a young age, which can be permanent ailments.

For many young people, that first cigarette or use of smokeless tobacco will lead to a lifetime of addiction, and for many, serious disease. Retailers are vital partners in the FDA’s efforts to prevent tobacco use among kids.

As of today, FDA-commissioned officials have conducted more than 27,500 compliance checks. Retail inspections focus on sale and distribution restrictions, including:

  • age and ID verification
  • requirements for labeling and advertising of smokeless tobacco products
  • restrictions on the sale of single cigarettes
  • a ban on certain candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes
  • prohibited self-service displays and vending machines

I am a Bay Area Personal Injury Attorney, and father, I care deeply about the quality of life given to our younger generation. I am dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle for myself, my family, and my community, and am a non-smoker. I urge all adults to assist in protecting our youth from the dangers of tobacco products.

About the author: Claude Wyle is an aggressive advocate for Bay Area child safety. Claude has decades of experience representing those harmed by the wrongful conduct of others, and, as a San Francisco personal injury attorney, has fought to protect the rights of injured adults and children throughout his legal career.

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