The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act contains a penalty structure under which penalties increase in severity for each successive violation a retailer commits (e.g., the penalty for a second violation is more severe than the penalty for a first violation). This enables tobacco retailers to correct problems as they are discovered.
Additionally, the legislation provides for less severe penalties when retailers have in place an adequate training program for employees. These lower penalties include a Warning Letter for the first violation (rather than a fine) and lower fines for subsequent violations that would be levied if the retailer did not have an adequate training program in place.
The FDA has yet to institute any regulations regarding what types of training programs are considered “adequate” so as to trigger a less severe penalty. Until it does, the agency will be subjecting all retailers to the reduce penalty schedule as though they had an adequate training program in place.
The FDA has released a Guidance document on tobacco retailer training programs, which is available here.
NATSO has prepared this document outlining the various issues that these inspections will cover, as well as how retailers should respond if they are accused of violating the law...