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  1. Compliance, Enforcement & Training

Retail Sales of Tobacco Products

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FDA regulates all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, and hookah tobacco

Tobacco retailers play a direct role in protecting kids from nicotine addiction and the deadly effects of tobacco use. Learn what tobacco retailers need to do to comply with the rules designed to prevent our nation's youth from becoming the next generation of Americans to die prematurely from tobacco-related disease. 

Note: On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. FDA will provide additional details on this issue as they become available, and the information on this page will be updated accordingly in a timely manner.

Do you mix or prepare e-liquids, make or modify vaporizers, or mix loose tobacco and sell any tobacco product? If so, you may be regulated as both a retailer and a tobacco product manufacturer.

Selling Tobacco Products in Retail Stores

If you sell tobacco products, you must comply with all applicable federal laws and regulations for retailers. By complying with these regulations, retailers help keep tobacco products out of the hands of youth.


Compliance Check Inspections

FDA conducts inspections of tobacco product retailers to determine a retailer's compliance with federal laws and regulations, including The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Tobacco Control Act, and our rules and regulations.

During Undercover Buy Inspections, the retailer is unaware an inspection is taking place. The minor and inspector will not identify themselves.

Generally, FDA sends warning letters to retailers the first time a tobacco compliance check inspection reveals a violation of federal tobacco laws and regulations. Failure to promptly and adequately correct all violations and ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations may lead to enforcement actions, including Civil Money Penalties or No-Tobacco-Sale Orders.

Searchable Retailer Inspection Database

Results from compliance check inspections of tobacco retailers are available in a searchable retailer inspection database.

Search inspection results by tobacco retailer name, city, state, zip code, or decision date in the database. It is also possible to search by state or region using the interactive map. Businesses where FDA has completed compliance check inspections will display as pins.

Note: Though this database is regularly updated, absence of a retail establishment from this database does not imply compliance with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

Download the “FDA Age Calculator,” a voluntary smartphone application to help retailers comply with federal, state, and local age restrictions for selling tobacco products.

Apple Store App Google Play App

Retailer Training and Enforcement

Get information on how to comply with federal tobacco regulations, enforcement activities, and compliance checks.

Tobacco Retail Compliance Webinars

Watch our webinars on federal tobacco regulations. These webinars are designed to provide FDA tobacco compliance education and information to retailers and small businesses. Some webinars include a Q&A session to provide you the opportunity to have your questions answered by the FDA.  


Regulations & Guidance

Learn about federal tobacco regulations and guidance focused on the sale, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.

Small Business Assistance

The Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) Office of Small Business Assistance (OSBA) provides technical and other nonfinancial assistance to small tobacco product manufacturers to help them and other small businesses to comply with the requirements of the Tobacco Control Act (TCA).

Contact the Office of Small Business Assistance at 1-877-287-1373 (9am EST-4pm EST) or Tobacco-Small Business ([email protected]) for help.

Additional Resources

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