FDA asks Public to Help Keep Youth Away from Tobacco

Woman-smoking-jpgThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking the public to join the battle against youth smoking, HealthDay News reports. According to the FDA, more than 3,200 Americans under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette every day; of these, over 700 begin smoking every day. The agency wants to lower these numbers by asking members of the public to report possible violations of tobacco sales to anyone under 18. This can help reduce the amount of young people who try smoking or become regular smokers, the FDA says.

Members of the public can report potential violations by calling 1-877-287-1373. Complaints can also be submitted by downloading and mailing a form to the FDA Center for Tobacco Products. When reporting, you should provide as much information as possible regarding the possible violation. The FDA said that this includes date, location, type of product, product brand and/or type of violation.

Between 2009 and September 30, 2012, there were 18,000 tobacco law violations. According to the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, more than half of these violations were selling tobacco products to minors and more than a third were for failing to ask for proper identification to confirm that they were at least 18 years of age.

There are several different types of violations that the public should be aware of. This includes “sales of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to minors; sales of flavored cigarettes or flavored cigarette tobacco (except menthol) to minors; providing free samples of cigarettes to minors; sales of single cigarettes to minors, and providing free samples of smokeless tobacco to minors, unless in a ‘qualified adult-only facility’” HealthDay News reports.

The amount of time it takes to complete an investigation depends on a number of different factors. Until the case is closed, information about an ongoing investigation cannot be made public.

The FDA said that businesses who had first-time violations usually received a warning letter. If it is a repeat offense, however, business may be subject to fines, seizures, injunctions or criminal prosecution.

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