FDA pursues order barring specific retailers from selling tobacco products

FDA launched on Thursday enforcement action against two Walgreens and Circle K locations for multiple violations of restrictions on the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including sales of cigars and menthol cigarettes to minors.

FDA launched on Thursday enforcement action against two Walgreens and Circle K locations for multiple violations of restrictions on the sale and distribution of tobacco products, including sales of cigars and menthol cigarettes to minors. FDA is seeking No-Tobacco-Sale Orders (NTSO) against a Walgreens store in Miami and a Circle K store in Charleston, SC, aiming to prohibit the two stores from selling tobacco products for 30 days. According to the agency, Walgreens is the top violator among pharmacies that sell tobacco products, with nearly a quarter of the stores inspected having illegally sold tobacco products to underage individuals. "I will be writing the corporate management of Walgreens and requesting a meeting with them to discuss whether there is a corporate-wide issue related to their stores' non-compliance and put them on notice that the FDA is considering additional enforcement avenues to address their record of violative tobacco sales to youth," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. He added, "I'm also deeply disturbed that a single pharmacy chain racked up almost 1,800 violations for selling tobacco products to minors across the country. I have particular concerns about whether the pharmacy setting is influencing consumer and retailer perceptions around tobacco products in a way that's contributing to these troubling findings." The NTSO action against the Miami Walgreens location is the first such action taken against a Walgreens store. The NTSO action against Circle K is not its first, but it is the first time FDA has initiated an NTSO complaint for the sale of deemed products (cigars) to minors.