Maine Awarded Three-Year Contract to Enforce Federal Tobacco Sales Law

July 11, 2011

AUGUSTA ? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products announced an agreement with the state of Maine to assure compliance with federal laws surrounding the sale and distribution of tobacco to minors.

Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products, Maine Attorney General William J. Schneider and Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Mary Mayhew announced the award of a one year contract with two one year options. If all options are exercised, the three-year amount will total $2.1 million. The funds will be used to supplement existing compliance efforts and will be administered by the Attorney General?s Office on behalf of DHHS.

?We are fortunate to be able to continue our comprehensive tobacco control program,?? said Commissioner Mayhew. ?Maine has reduced youth smoking over the last several years but the recent slight increase in smoking among youth reinforces the need to be vigilant in our effort to reduce youth smoking.?

Maine was awarded one of the first two of FDA?s compliance and enforcement contracts to pilot the program in 2010. FDA currently has contracts with 19 states and will award contracts to several other states through the end of September.

Maine?s laws mirror the federal regulations that prohibit the sale of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and cigarette tobacco to anyone under age 18 and require retailers to check the identification of anyone under age 27.

In addition, the federal law prohibits sales to minors of flavored cigarettes and cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and cigarette tobacco labeled light, low tar or containing similar descriptions that convey a message that the product is safer than others on the market.

Attorney General Schneider praised Maine retailers for their effort in preventing underage tobacco sales. ?Compliance is at an all-time high. Our continued partnership with FDA will assist us in limiting the availability of tobacco products to Maine children and adolescents,? Schneider said. ?We have also partnered with DHHS on the NO BUTS responsible tobacco retailer program which now offers online training to help retail employees comply with the law.?

Dr. Deyton met with stakeholders from the public health and regulated business communities to learn more about Maine?s comprehensive tobacco prevention efforts and brief them on FDA?s mission and its efforts to partner with states and businesses.

?Maine?s tobacco prevention efforts have a strong history and we are pleased that the new contract will continue our relationship,? commented Dr. Deyton.

Information about FDA Center for Tobacco Products can be found at: