FDA Issues Warning Letters for Sale of Cigars to Minors

Late last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (FUFDA) issued a release stating, “We recently issued the first warning letters to 55 tobacco retailers—including major national retail chains, tobacco specialty stores, and online retailers—for selling newly-regulated tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, e-liquids, and cigars, to minors.”

The list documents the name of each retailer, their location, and the product sold to a minor. The entire list is HERE.  Our crack analysts here at Cigar Intel reviewed the list and made the following observations:

  1. The vast majority of retailers are convenience stores, liquor stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.
  2. The FDA targeted both brick and mortar, and online sales of cigars to minors.
  3. The FDA purchased newly-regulated tobacco products from 12 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  4. Cigar purchases focused on low end cigars, especially Swisher Sweets. Only one cigar purchase is close to a premium cigar, the CAO Cherry Bomb. What the hell is up with the Swisher Sweets purchases? Perhaps it is because of the different flavored cigars that appeal to younger folks, e.g., Swisher Sweets strawberry, blueberry, tropical fusion, and grape cigars. I’m not sure you can actually call these cigars with a straight face. More like, cheap tobacco drenched in flavors so you don’t notice the low quality of the cigars.
  5. Most of the cigar purchases were from convenience stores, liquor stores, gas stations, discount stores, and pharmacies. These are great places to buy premium cigars like White Owl and Black & Mild cigars.
  6. The FDA purchased cigars from four premium cigar shops: Island Smoke Shop, Mystogie.com, Road Runner Cigars, and Tampa Humidor.
  7. All four purchases from the premium cigar shops was an Internet sale.
  8. Island Smoke Shop’s ecommerce store is down as of September 18th, 2016 with the following warning: “IMPORTANT NOTICE. We are currently upgrading our web site for your convenience and security. Until these revisions are completed, we are unable to process any online orders. Thank you for your patience. We’ll be back online soon!” Perhaps they are working on their site to deal with the issue highlighted in their warning letter from the FDA. BTW, Smokey and I have visited Island Smoke Shop many times during our visits to Key Largo over the years. Island Smoke Shop is a great first stop as you enter The Keys.
  9. There are some really f*cked up names of vape and hookah liquid, e.g., Blak E-Hookah Banana Split E-Liquid, I Love Donuts E-Liquid, Strawberry Cake Pop by Brewell E-Liquid, Muffin Top Apple Pie E-Liquid, Cap-n-Crunch Berries E-Liquid, and Tastes Like Skank Crotch E-Liquid. OK, I made that last one up just to see who actually reads these posts. No wonder the FDA went after the vape and hookah market.
  10. Twenty retailers received warning letters for the sale of cigars to minors. Below is the list:
  • A&J Food Mart, located at 277 Highway 72 West, Abbeville, SC 29620, sold Swisher Sweets cigars.
  • AJ’s Liquor, located at 4518 Mortensen Road, Suite 109, Ames, IA 50014, sold Swisher Sweets Strawberry cigars.
  • BP, located at 5320 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212, sold Black & Mild cigars.
  • Chevron/Food Mart, located at 4737 East Broadway Road, Phoenix, AZ 85040, sold Swisher Sweets Grape cigars.
  • Circle K, located at 3101 Wst Northern Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85040, sold a Prime Time Grape cigar.
  • Exxon, located at 971 Quince Orchard Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20878, sold a Black & Mild Jazz cigar.
  • Family Dollar, located at 5255 South Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85040, sold Swisher Sweets Blueberry cigars.
  • Island Smoke Shop sold a CAO Cherry Bomb cigar via their website.
  • Love’s, located at 11820 Hickman Road, Clive, IA 50325, sold Swisher Sweets Grape cigars.
  • Lucky Layla Food Mart, located at 847 North Main Street, Malvern, AR 72104, sold Swisher Sweets Tropical Fusion cigars.
  • Martin’s Grocer, located at 8560 Old Percival Road, Columbia, SC, sold White Owl Strawberry cigars.
  • Mystogie.com sold an Al Capone Jamaican Blaze rum flavored cigar via their website.
  • On the Run, located at 1325 North Main Street, O’Fallon, MO 63366, sold Swisher Sweets cigars.
  • Pic-a-Pop, located at 524 North 3rd Avenue, Pasco, WA 99301, sold Swisher Sweets Grape cigars
  • Pratt Liquor & Bar, located at 1812 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21223, sold Black & Mild cigars.
  • Road Runner Cigars sold a Blackstone Little Cigars Vanilla via their website.
  • Sunshine Convenience Store, located at 539 West Main Street, Cheshire, CT 06410, sold Game Mango cigars.
  • Tampa Humidor sold a Tatiana Classic Flavored Vanilla cigar via their website.
  • Tobacco Superstore, located at 431 State Street, Clarksdale, MS 38614, sold Swisher Sweets cigars.
  • Walgreens #11422, located at 4650 Highway K, O’Fallon, MO 63348, sold Swisher Sweets Grape cigars.



c.gar loves all things cigar-related. He typically falls in love with cigars that are discontinued shortly thereafter. His first cigar was a Swisher Sweet with a wood tip. Sadly, these are still in production.

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