January 13, 2020, Washington, DC —The Premium Cigar Association (PCA) joined a coalition of retail groups seeking clarification on the implementation of the tobacco sales purchasing age. The letter signed by PCA along with the Food Marketing Institute, National Association of Convivence Stores, National Association of Truckstop Operators, National Grocers Association, Petroleum Marketers Association of America, and Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America seeks additional guidance from the Food & Drug Administration.
The letter submitted on Friday directed to Mitch Zeller, Director for the Center of Tobacco Products, notes, “To date, a three-sentence note on the FDA website is the only communication on Tobacco 21 our retail members have seen from the agency. That note does not even appear on the home pages of the FDA or the Center for Tobacco Products. As such, retailers of tobacco products across the United States face significant confusion about the transition to age 21, requirements for compliance, and enforcement efforts. While some states have clarified that they will not enforce the new age restrictions until receiving implementing regulations from FDA, others have indicated they will pursue enforcement now. This is particularly confusing for retailers who operate in multiple states.” The FDA has not provided any additional details or public awareness materials to date despite requests from industry stakeholders.
“The FDA needs to step up and provide more information to manufacturers, retailers, and consumers on Tobacco 21. The immediate action to require T21 compliance without any guidance has confused everyone in the industry including state and local authorities,” says Joshua Habursky, the PCA’s Director of Federal Affairs. The PCA will continue to work with retailers on Tobacco 21 compliance at both federal and state levels.
Read the original Joint Industry Follow Up Letter to the FDA here.
UPDATE: Since the time of this publication, the FDA has responded. Read the response here.