Convenience Store News

APR 2015

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54 Convenience Store News | APRIL 2015 | WWW.CSNEWS.COM Cigarettes + Cigars + Smokeless + E-Cigs + Other OTP TOBACCO T wo years ago, the U.S. Food & Drug Administra- tion (FDA) announced the release of "Tobacco Retailer Training Programs," an offshoot of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. While this proverbial pipe was passed to retailers in good faith, neither effort legally requires tobacco training programs for employees. "The FDA has not yet issued retail training pro - gram standards," said Thomas Briant, executive direc- tor of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO). "NATO had recommended that the FDA adopt or endorse the We Card program as meeting the train- ing requirements of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act." Founded in 1995, We Card's goal is educating and training retailers about tobacco best practices. To date, the organiza- tion has held more than 2,100 classroom training sessions in all 50 states, which included 350,000- plus owners, managers and front- line employees, according to We Card President Doug Anderson. More than 237 regional, state and local trade associations, including NATO support the We Card program currently. "Before FDA's enforcement authority for the Tobacco Control Act began in 2010, retailers had to comply with state laws governing youth access to tobacco," Anderson explained. "There is an ongoing need to raise awareness of the states' and the federal laws' existence, their requirements and the conse- quences for failing to comply." Convenience Store News was unsuccessful in reach- ing the FDA for comment. The agency in June 2014 released a revised version of its "Tobacco Retailer Training Programs" guidance report. The 18-page document covers issues such as provisions regarding sale and distribution; provisions regarding advertising and promotion; and recommendations for training fre- quency, methods and review. A caveat at the top of the report reads: "This guid- ance represents the Food and Drug Administration's current thinking on this topic. It does not create or con- fer any rights for or on any person and does not oper- ate to bind FDA or the public. You can use an alternative approach if the approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations." For retailers new to the conve- nience store industry, Briant said it is incumbent they study the local, state and federal laws to ensure they are in compliance. "Generally, a retailer must obtain a local license from a city or county government to be able to legally sell tobacco products," he said. "For this reason, a new retailer should become a member of a state and/or national retail trade association to become educated about the require- ments of selling tobacco products." ViOlATiOns DeCreAse sAles While the FDA does not require mandatory tobacco training, there are consequences for failure to comply. A retailer's first offense is mild: there is no monetary fee and the issuance of a warning letter. If during the next 12 months another violation is realized, the retailer is charged $250. A third violation in the same timeframe Train & Then Train Some More Education and training around the tobacco category should never end By W.B. King "There is an ongoing need to raise awareness of the states' and the federal laws' existence, their requirements and the consequences for failing to comply." — Doug Anderson, We Card

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