The Federal Drug Administration threatened to fine Walmart, Kroger, Family Dollar and more than a half dozen convenience store and gas station chains for illegally selling tobacco products to minors.
The agency cited high rates of violations in nearly identical letters sent to retailers last week. In addition to the retailers above, 7-Eleven, BP, Casey's General Stores, Chevron, Citgo, Exxon, Marathon Petroleum, Shell and Sunoco all received the letters, which were dated April 5 and posted to the agency's website Friday. The FDA gave them 30 days to submit a detailed plan describing how they will mitigate illegal tobacco sales to minors.
None of the companies were immediately available for comment.
"Retailers in particular are on the front lines of these efforts to reduce the health consequences of tobacco use and nicotine dependence," the FDA said. "Because tobacco use is almost always initiated and established during adolescence, early intervention — including making sure tobacco products aren't being sold to minors —is critical."
The FDA has been inspecting tobacco sellers to ensure compliance with federal rules prohibiting sales to minors since 2010. During those inspections, it found violations at as few as 15% of the Casey's General Store locations that were inspected to as many as 41% of the Marathon Petroleum gas stations that were checked.
Walmart had a violation rate of about 17% and 7-Eleven had a rate of about 25%. BP and Citgo both had violation rates of 35%.
"This violative history is disturbing and cannot possibly come as a surprise to corporate leadership," the FDA told each company.
With the rise of e-cigarettes and vaping, the number of children buying and smoking cigarettes and tobacco products has reached epidemic levels. Tobacco use almost always starts during adolescence so the FDA said its critical to intervene early.
The government agency emphasized that breaking the law and paying the fines "should not simply be viewed as a cost of doing business."
该机构在上周发给零售商的几乎相同信件中提到了高比例的违规行为。除了上述零售商外，7-11、 BP 、 Casey's General Stores 、 Chevron 、 Citgo 、 Exxon 、 Marathon Petroleum 、 Shell 和 Sunoco 都收到了这些信件，这些信件的日期是4月5日，并于周五公布在该机构的网站上。FDA 给他们30天时间来提交一份详细的计划，说明他们将如何减少对未成年人的非法烟草销售。
“尤其是零售商在减少烟草使用和尼古丁依赖对健康的影响方面，都处于这些努力的前沿，” FDA 说。由于烟草的使用几乎总是在青春期开始和确立的，早期干预——包括确保烟草产品不会出售给未成年人——是至关重要的。
自2010年以来， FDA 一直在检查烟草销售商，以确保遵守禁止向未成年人销售烟草的联邦规定。在这些视察期间，它发现在凯西的总店地点中只有15%的地方发生了违反规定的行为，这些地点被检查到了多达41%的马拉松石油加油站。
沃尔玛（Walmart）的违约率约为17%，7-11的违约率约为25%。BP 和 Citgo 的违约率均为35%。
“这种暴力行为的历史是令人不安的，不可能对公司领导层感到意外，” FDA 告诉每家公司。
随着电子香烟和吸烟量的增加，购买和吸烟香烟和烟草产品的儿童数量已达到流行病水平。烟草的使用几乎总是从青春期开始，所以 FDA 说它是早期干预的关键。