FDA Regulation of Tobacco

Last Updated: March 25, 2022

The Issue

In an effort to reduce the incidence of smoking, particularly among minors, and to improve the safety of tobacco products, Congress passed a law giving the Food and Drug Administration regulatory authority over the manufacture and sale of cigarettes. The June 22, 2009, enactment of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act capped a 12-year effort that began in 1997.

Retail Impact

According to the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2020 Data, sales of tobacco products (cigarettes and other tobacco products) represent approximately 35% of in-store sales at U.S. convenience stores.

Tobacco is a legal product and one that is important to the economic viability of the convenience store industry. The law providing FDA the authority to regulate the manufacture and retail of tobacco products has a significant effect on convenience retailers in the form of regulations regarding advertising and product sales.

NACS Position

During consideration of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, NACS negotiated several provisions to lessen the burden on convenience retailers and help level the playing field with other retail channels of trade, such as Internet vendors and Native American sellers. The law includes the following NACS priorities:

  • Grant procedural safeguards to ensure a fair regulatory process
  • Provide incentives for retailers to adopt compliance and training practices
  • Protect against the imposition of double fines for the same conduct
  • Set fair boundaries for retailer liability

NACS continues to be diligent in advocating for the rights of its retail members under the new FDA authority. NACS encourages retailers to use procedures and training tools like those offered by We Card.