Vape shops, be prepared! The FDA is about to send undercover teenagers into your stores to catch your employees violating federal law. And while your first violation may just earn a warning letter, repeat offenses could bring fines of up to $11,000 per violation, and even lead to a “no-tobacco-sale order,” meaning your store could be prohibited from selling tobacco products. There may be additional local and state penalties too.
Anyone familiar with the cigarette business knows the FDA (and sometimes local and state governments too) conduct stings — “compliance checks” — sending teenagers into stores to attempt tobacco purchases. Now that vapor products have been “deemed” by the FDA, the same thing will happen in vape shops, and the penalties are the same too.
The FDA is looking to expand its teenage workforce. HeiTech Services, a federal contractor that administers the “underage purchaser” program in some areas is actively seeking teenagers to conduct compliance checks in cities in 13 states, according to a job posting on its website, linked in a Craig’s List post in Las Vegas.