On Friday, February 26th, the FDA announced plans to issue a guidance requiring tobacco retailers to establish an employee training program. Under this proposed regulation, all current and new employees would be required to pass a written test prior to selling tobacco products.
In the Federal Register notice, FDA stated that the proposed guidance will discuss the elements to be covered in a training program. These include:
In order to “provide evidence of a training program during the 48-month time period covered by the civil money penalty schedules in section 103(q)(2)(A) of the Tobacco Control Act,” the FDA recommends that retailers maintain records documenting that all employees have completed training. Retailers should keep these records for a minimum of four years.
As part of an effective training program, FDA recommends that tobacco retailers implement various hiring and management practices as well. As part of these recommended practices, FDA says that all applicants and current employees should be provided with verbal and written notification that details the importance of the laws governing the sale of tobacco products. It is critical for employees to understand that anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from purchasing tobacco products. To accentuate the important nature of this law, retailers should require employees to sign a document acknowledging that they have read and understand the laws and information surrounding the sale of tobacco products.
In addition, the Agency recommends that an internal program be implemented to ensure compliance with the laws mentioned above. Tobacco retailers should have procedures and corrective actions that accompany the program, which should be documented and posted for all employees to see.
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