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FDA Gives More Time for Comment on Nicotine Levels, Flavors, Cigars

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SILVER SPRING, Md. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has extended its deadlines for public comment on nicotine levels of combustible cigarettes, flavors in tobacco products and regulation on premium cigars by 30 days into mid-July, the agency announced.

Earlier in the spring, the FDA announced that it would open up 90-day public-comment periods on three critical areas affecting the production and sale of tobacco products: nicotine levels, flavors and premium cigars.

While slightly staggered, the original deadlines for these Advance Notices for Public Rule Making (ANPRMs) were scheduled to come up in June.

Here are the new deadlines for the three ANPRMs:

  • Tobacco Product Standard for Nicotine Level of Combusted Cigarettes: July 16
  • Regulation of Flavors in Tobacco Products: July 19
  • Regulation of Premium Cigars: July 25

In addition, the agency also extended its public-comment deadline for input on illicit trade as it relates to tobacco. The new deadline is July 16, regarding what the agency calls its Draft Concept Paper: Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products after Implementation of an FDA Product Standard.

In an effort to encourage retailers to participate in the process, NATO, a Lakeville, Minn.-based tobacco-retailing association, recently published a list of points the group believes should be made about nicotine levels, flavored-tobacco products and premium cigars. It also outlined ways retailers could communicate their comments to the FDA.

Author(s): 
Angel Abcede

Amazon Go Going to Willis Tower, Ogilvie in Chicago

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CHICAGO — Two locations have been chosen for the upcoming Amazon Go stores in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune.

E-retailer Amazon has leased spaces in the Willis Tower—formerly known as the Sears Tower—and in an office building attached to Ogilvie Transportation Center, a train station, the Tribune reports.

CSP Daily News previously reported that Amazon is slated to open new Amazon Go locations in Chicago and San Francisco, but Amazon did not reveal specific locations at the time; however, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that one location would open in the city’s Union Square. Amazon did not specify when the locations will open.

The first and currently only Amazon Go store in Seattle, across the street from Amazon headquarters, is 1,800 square feet of tech-heavy retail. QR code-activated turnstiles sit at the entrance of the store, cameras dot the ceiling and sensors line the shelves, all of which meticulously tracks customer and product movement. There is no cashier or checkout area in the store. Customers simply pick up what they want and walk outside with it, and their Amazon account is charged automatically. Additionally, chefs and employees prepare food and other items in a kitchen in the back, the interior of which can be viewed from the street.

An Amazon spokesperson did not give any additional information regarding the leased spaces. “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” the spokesperson told CSP Daily News.

Chicago is one of the cities still eligible to host Amazon’s yet-to-be-announced second headquarters. The city already has an Amazon Books location and stores for Amazon pickups and returns.
 

Author(s): 
Jackson Lewis

Tips for Saving on Costly Car Wash Repairs

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Brought to you by PDQ Manufacturing, Inc.

Mechanical failures can be a car wash owner’s worst nightmare, and it’s easy to understand why. Costly breakdowns and time-consuming repairs represent an omnipresent risk. One way of ensuring that the potential for equipment failure and downtime is minimized is by keeping up with scheduled preventative maintenance. 

There is an important distinction between preventative maintenance and reactive repairs. Too often, putting off car wash preventative maintenance is looked at as an easy way to decrease costs. However, failure to do so can cause additional damage to equipment that could have been prevented. These reactive repairs can end up costing much more than overall preventative maintenance, as well as result in profits lost while the car wash is inoperable.  

Making a commitment to regular, effective maintenance is a task that, while necessary and ultimately beneficial, can still seem daunting to car wash operators. One way to make maintenance tasks more manageable and ensure scheduled service requirements are met is by establishing routine checklists from the maintenance schedule for your specific car wash. Local distributors can also help maximize maintenance routines by providing tips and recommendations based on experience, as well as helping operators create a personalized checklist.


Let Our Distributors Help You Find The Right Wash System
PDQ Manufacturing, Inc. sells equipment, enhancements and parts through a worldwide distributor network, comprised of knowledgeable, diligent professionals. Find a PDQ Distributor today, to help you choose the right system based on your specific needs, helping you minimize the need for costly repairs.


Having daily, weekly, monthly and semi-annual checklists will ensure that both everyday tasks and more serious maintenance needs are met. Regardless of specific tasks, having documented checklists will increase maintenance accountability, as well as create a roadmap that will streamline the work process for the car wash employees.

Once checklists are perfected and documented for the specific car wash operation, they should be placed in an area that is easily accessible to employees. Each member of the staff should be given tasks and responsibilities. As these tasks are completed, documentation should be made, including date of completion and whether further repair or inspection is needed. If additional repairs are required, they should be handled by the appropriate channels, ideally through a certified maintenance professional. 

No matter what amount of service is needed, it is always recommended to use a certified maintenance technician. Certified technician programs, such as the PDQ University Factory Certification Program, guarantee that only certified technicians with complete knowledge regarding a specific cleaning system and its components are able to complete the work, demonstrating an expertise in repairs and troubleshooting. This ensures that the correct repairs are made immediately, in a safe manner, saving both cost and downtime.

By staying abreast of these tasks and working closely with a distributor, unexpected closures will be kept to a minimum, and the expense will be far less than the costs associated with equipment repair or replacement, excessive downtime and lost revenue. When all of this is taken into consideration, it’s clear to see that preventative maintenance is not only helpful to the car wash operator, but profitable, as well.

Questions on maintenance?
Please contact us for more information on maintenance or car wash equipment questions.

San Francisco Voters Uphold Menthol Ban

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SAN FRANCISCO  In the wake of voters deciding to uphold San Francisco’s ban on all flavored-tobacco products—including menthol cigarettes—at least one industry analyst believes the implications may rise to the level of federal action, as disparate measures at the city and state level may prove to be unduly burdensome to retailers overall.

On June 5, a majority of voters in San Francisco approved Proposition E, the measure questioning the board of supervisors’ decision last year to ban flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, candy-flavored tobacco products and flavored vaping liquids. Sixty-eight percent of voters were in favor of the measure and 31% opposed it, reported CNN.

In her assessment of the results, Bonnie Herzog, managing director of consumer equity research for Wells Fargo Securities LLC, New York, said city retailers will take a hit considering the size of the menthol category but that demand will most likely stay the same. She said menthol represents 35% of total industry cigarette volume, although at least one San Francisco retailer told CSP Daily News that half of his category sales will be affected. Citing a Wells Fargo survey of tobacco retailers, Herzog said smokers will more than likely shop outside city limits or online.

She said the bigger risk was that of a federal ban on menthol-flavored tobacco products, which could become more likely as more and more jurisdictions begin enacting such measures. However, Herzog said such a move was “extremely unlikely” given that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must make such determinations based on science and must also consider unintended consequences.

Dubbing the topic a “thing to watch” in a recent newsletter, Herzog said the FDA’s current public-comment period, known as the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), on tobacco flavors will draw more attention in the wake of the San Francisco vote. The deadline to submit comments is June 19.

Ultimately, the industry would fight such a ban if it ever made it to the federal level, Herzog said. “If it ever occurred, we strongly believe the industry would pursue legal options,” she said.

San Francisco supervisors voted to ban flavored tobacco products last year, but a coalition of businesses and community leaders gathered enough signatures to place it on the June 5 ballot. In recent weeks, parties on both sides of the issue have been using multiple media channels to persuade voters. 

Author(s): 
Angel Abcede

Marketing in the Modern Age of Retail

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Emerging technology and changing consumer behaviors are forcing retailers to rethink their marketing strategies, according to Kay Segal and the group at Business Accelerator Team (BATeam).

“Consumers are making decisions based on more than just the traditional four P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion,” Segal recently wrote on the BATeam website. She referenced a study from the Harvard Business Review, among other studies and articles, explaining how retailers need to change to meet the shifting demands of today’s consumers.

The article from Harvard Business Review (HBR) asserts that relevancy, not loyalty, is today’s key traffic driver, and that brands using the four P’s of marketing today are usually targeting a very specific customer archetype that may or may not actually exist. 

The article builds on this theme, to say that every customer is different and has different needs. With today’s technology, not only do businesses have the capability to track these customers and their needs, but customers increasingly expect companies to deploy this level of marketing.

In order to keep up in this new world of retail, the HBR article proposes five instead of four P’s to follow:

  • Purpose: Customers feel the company shares and advances their values.
  • Pride: Customers feel proud and inspired to use the company’s products and services.
  • Partnership: Customers feel the company relates to and works well with them.
  • Protection: Customers feel secure when doing business with the company.
  • Personalization: Customers feel their experiences with the company are continuously tailored to their needs and priorities.

Segal used Chicago-based Foxtrot as one example of a convenience-format retailer that exemplifies the new five P’s in her blog post.

This small chain of upscale c-stores carries a curated mix of local products in what Mike LaVitola, Foxtrot CEO and co-founder, called a “coffee shop vibe” when he spoke with online news source Curbed.

Segal wrote that the retailer has found success, not only because of the location of its stores but because the concept represents a curated presentation of locally-sourced products. Foxtrot also offers app-based delivery and uses its stores as a staging area to deliver items.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Business Accelerator Team is an outside-in catalyst assisting with insight, strategy, marketing and key industry connections. The consultancy provides business-development expertise derived from a deep understanding of what has worked with suppliers, retailers and media in retailing and foodservice.
 

Author(s): 
Jackson Lewis

Grab-and-Go Labels Take Center Stage

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Brought to you by DayMark Safety Systems.

According to a 2017 poll conducted by news service organization Reuters, 84% of adults agreed that “the government should require nutrition information labels on all packaged food” sold in stores.  And taking this a step further, more than 60% said they would even like to see nutritional information on restaurant menus.

The poll also found that those who do read food labels are mainly concerned about how it will affect their overall health, looking for calorie count information, sugar content, fat and more.

Many other food labeling surveys have found that more people—younger people, especially—are reading food labels. This is especially true when selecting grab-and-go food items, as well as items in a cafeteria or at a buffet.

Some food manufacturers are taking steps to ensure consumers make informed food choices and know more precisely what is in the food they select. They are doing this by placing front-of-packaging nutrition labels, as the name implies, on the front of food packaging. 

These labels are hard to miss, and while they do not include all the nutritional information found on a food label, they contain enough information so that consumers have a better idea as to what they are selecting.

To see if it’s true that shoppers want more labels, a study was conducted involving more than 7,000 consumers with four different versions of front-of-package labels placed on breakfast cereals and frozen entrees:

  • Version 1: a control with no nutrition information
  • Version 2: calories only
  • Version 3: calories and other nutrients that should be limited (i.e. total fat, sodium, etc.)
  • Version 4: everything from version three, plus nutrients that are considered healthy (such as vitamins)

Each package also included the nutrition facts panel required on almost all food products sold in the U.S.  The study required that the surveyed consumers had purchased and consumed the food items selected in the past three months.

The consumers were then asked questions about the nutrient amounts and daily percentage values on these food items. “In general, the more nutrition information on the front of the package, the better consumers were at identifying and comprehending nutritional attributes of the food,” a report in Nutraceuticals World says. 

Further, the study found that the fourth label version, which provided the most nutritional information, scored higher than the other front-of-package labeling information. 

This is likely why Nutritics Insight, part of DayMark Safety Systems’ new Gateway kitchen automation system, is planning to work with food manufacturers and others in the foodservice industry to provide front-of-package information.  This will help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions, which is what Nutritics is all about.

Heineken USA Appoints New CEO

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Heineken USA Inc. has appointed Maggie Timoney as CEO. She will take the reins of Heineken USA on Sept. 1.

With more than 25 years of experience in the beer and cider business, Timoney will succeed Heineken veteran Ronald den Elzen, who will be returning to Holland for a global role within Heineken N.V.

Timoney is joining Heineken USA from Heineken Ireland, where she has been CEO for the past five years. She joined the Heineken family in 1998 in a national sales planning role for Heineken USA and then held a series of sales, strategic planning and distribution roles in the Netherlands before being named the managing director of Heineken Canada in 2006. She returned to Heineken USA in 2010 as senior vice president of human resources and a member of the management team.

Before Heineken, Timoney worked in sales for E. & J. Gallo and Anheuser-Busch Wholesaler.

“Maggie is a competitive and energetic leader who is known for inspiring teams, operationalizing plans and mobilizing organizations to deliver business results,” said Marc Busain, Heineken Americas region president. “She understands the challenges and opportunities that exist within the U.S. market and she has the right mix of strategic vision, people leadership and grit to ignite future growth for Heineken USA.”

White Plains, N.Y.-based beer importer Heineken USA is a subsidiary of Heineken International N.V. Key brands imported into the United States are Heineken, Dos Equis, Tecate beers and Strongbow hard apple ciders. Heineken USA also imports Amstel Light, Amstel Xlight, Indio, Carta Blanca and Bohemia brands.

Photo courtesy of Heineken USA. 

Author(s): 
Greg Lindenberg

Opinion: No Fill-Up, No Charge

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Editor’s Note: The recent announcement of the introduction of the 2019 Audi A8 model—an electric vehicle that offers wireless charging—validates an analysis that convenience-store industry expert Gerald Lewis was already deep into: the disruption that will be caused by the ability to transmit electricity wirelessly. Here is his look at what wireless electrical transmission might mean for the future of humanity in general and the c-store industry in particular.

NEW YORK — The next big thing is almost here—a development that will change the world even more than Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Amazon have done in recent memory. It is the wireless transmission of electricity over long distances. It will ultimately enable such disparate things as colonization of the planets and elimination of the need to connect homes and factories to electricity sources. Sounds great! But here’s the bad news: It will also eliminate the need for stationary refueling or recharging of transportation vehicles.

In case you think I have been smoking something, here is some background.

More than 120 years ago, Nikola Tesla—a genius Serbian inventor and engineer who created the induction motor and alternating current (AC) electricity and, yes, the man whom the Tesla car is named after—demonstrated wireless electrical transmission in Colorado Springs, Colo. He lit electric lights outside using a large coil inside the building. Based on the success of this experiment, in 1901 he designed and built Wardenclyffe Tower (pictured) in Shoreham, N.Y., an experimental station intended to transmit telephone messages, facsimile images and wireless electricity over long distances.

Due to a dispute over the latter capability with J.P. Morgan, his primary backer, Tesla lost his funding and the project never became operational. The tower was abandoned in 1906 and sold as scrap metal in 1917 to pay off the debts that Tesla, a profligate spender, had amassed at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. Thus, we will never know whether his method of long-range wireless electrical transmission would have been successful. But this didn’t stop others from continuing to work on it.

Today’s Technology

Fast-forward to today, and there are some exciting things that are currently happening in this field.

The one that is likely to be the first commercial development in wireless electrical transmission is a radio frequency technology called WattUp, developed and owned by the publicly traded Energous Corp. The technology enables smartphones, hearing aids, tablets and similar devices to be charged wirelessly as far as 15 feet away from the power source. Energous has a development and license agreement with one of the leading consumer electronic companies (rumored to be Apple) and hopes to make it available to consumers in the near future.

Now, Stanford University scientists have developed a way of using wireless power transfer technology to transmit electricity to moving objects. This is a development that, if commercialized, will directly affect convenience stores. Listen to Shanhui Fan, a Stanford professor of electrical engineering: “We still need to significantly increase the amount of electricity being transferred to charge electric cars, but we may not need to push the distance too much more,” he said in a Stanford publication. “In theory, one could drive for an unlimited amount of time without having to stop to recharge. The hope is that you’ll be able to charge your electric car while you’re driving down the highway. A coil in the bottom of the vehicle could receive electricity from a series of coils connected to an electric current embedded in the road.”

The Limitations

Both the Energous and Stanford solutions are quite limited in the distance over which they can deliver wireless electricity. A feature in Stanford’s solution is that it does not require line of sight.

For longer-range wireless power transfer, one can use microwave beams. Such a technique does require line of sight. A group of Japanese scientists, working with Mitsubishi, have transmitted 1.8 kilowatts of electricity “with pinpoint accuracy” to a “rectenna” 55 meters away using microwaves. Rectennas (pictured) are flat, wireless power reception antennas. These Japanese scientists are working for J Space Systems on a project called Space Solar Power System that is being developed as an alternative future energy resource, with the support of the Japanese government.

“It will take significant time and effort to overcome the many hurdles … of the [Space Solar Power System],” said Japan’s space agency. “But even the incremental technologies such as ‘rectennas’ could prove useful sooner. Such technologies could be used to send power around factories, enabling machines, sensors and workstations to be easily reconfigured without having to run new power cables. Or consider balloons that send power down to areas hit by natural disasters where electric power is out.”

What’s Next?

Clearly, long-range wireless electricity transmission is an idea whose time is coming. When it does, the implications are endless. Just think of a GPS system transmitting electricity to your car the way such systems currently provide you with directions.

How soon will this happen? It is impossible to tell, but, in today’s world, once developments begin, they frequently come to scale much faster than anyone can imagine. A good example is a service that was introduced by FedEx in 1984 called Zapmail. At the time, fax machines were too expensive to gain widespread use, so FedEx would pick up your document, fax it to the closest Zapmail station and deliver it the same day. FedEx invested $250 million in the service but discontinued and wrote it off two years later, because the cost of fax machines had dropped so much by then that virtually every business that needed one had one.

The lesson is that we should start preparing now for a future where cars no longer have to stop to refuel. How? By thinking of convenience stores as destinations. While cars may no longer need the sustenance c-stores can provide to keep them going, the people in them still will. So the industry must focus on all the things the people need and want. What are these? In an editorial in CSP 15 years ago I called these things “the four F’s”:

Fill-in. This is the foundation of what defines the convenience-store category: the ability to buy the things consumers run out of in between trips to the supermarket. It has been viewed as being confined to food and household items, but a good case can be made for expanding it to cover things such as printer paper, ink cartridges, tech items and other items that recognize changes in the way we live today.

Fast food. A convenience-store today cannot be truly successful without a strong fast-food program. It is also the area that offers the greatest opportunity to create a distinctive positioning but the hardest to do consistently every day at every store.

Fuel. The continuing roller coaster in oil prices reinforces the importance of using net operating cost accounting to measure the performance of each c-store site based on the amount above or below cost at which it can sell gasoline and still break even. While motor fuel is a commodity, a professional appearance, convenient access and competitive pricing will attract shoppers every time.

Fun. This is an emotional rather than a physical differentiation. So much of what retailers sell is related to taking a break in the day—candy, quick foods, lottery, etc. This is an area where retailers can differentiate their stores by presenting them as providing some fun (or at least temporary relief) in this stressed-out world.

These four F’s are still as valid now as they were in 2003. But if you eliminate fuel from the list, another F must take its place: fundamentals. While change is constant and necessary in the world of convenience retailing, the fundamentals always continue to apply. So think of the c-store as a destination for fill-in, fast food and fun—and then constantly try to expand how to meet those fundamental needs. Then if the time comes when the strength of the offer, not the number on the gas price sign, will be all retailers have to make the cars drive past competitors to stop at your site, you will still have a successful business. And if that time doesn’t come soon, you will be way ahead of the game.


Gerald Lewis is a semiretired consultant who has served more than 300 convenience-store and oil companies at board level on five continents for more than 40 years. He can be reached at 646 215-7741 or by email at glewis@c-man.net

Author(s): 
Gerald Lewis

New Leadership Introduced at Post Holdings

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BRENTWOOD, Mo. — Chris Neugent, president and CEO of Post Consumer Brands, has been named executive vice president of strategy for Post Holdings Inc., effective July 23. Neugent will work with Post’s business units to develop strategic planning.

Howard Friedman, former executive vice president of the Kraft Heinz Co., will assume Neugent’s role with Post Consumer Brands.

Neugent has more than three decades of consumer products experience. He previously spent 12 years with Frito-Lay, where he managed brands such as Doritos and helped revamp the company’s “Baked” products. In 2001, he joined cereal producer MOM Brands Co. (formerly Malt-O-Meal Co.) and had been chairman and CEO for seven years before Post acquired the company in 2015. Neugent has helped spearhead the integration of the Post’s cereal business with MOM Brands ever since the acquisition.

Friedman has held a variety of roles with Kraft Heinz since 2001, including general management, sales, marketing and most recently, head of the company’s meat and dairy business. Friedman also served in the U.S. Army for nearly six years prior to entering the consumer products industry.

“Chris and his team have done an extraordinary job in a challenging environment and I expect that Howard will build further upon our success,” said Rob Vitale, president and CEO of Post Holdings. “Attracting a talent like Howard is a credit to the entire Post organization. I am also delighted that Chris will join me in working with our businesses to build value by developing organic growth strategies and M&A opportunities.”

Brentwood, Mo.-based Post Holdings is a consumer-packaged-goods holding company operating in the center-of-the-store, refrigerated, foodservice, food ingredient, active nutrition and private-brand food categories. Its brands include Honey Bunches of Oats, Pebbles, Great Grains and Malt-O-Meal bag cereal.

Photo courtesy of PR Newswire. 

Author(s): 
Brett Dworski

Steps and Suggestions for Submitting Comments to the FDA

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MINNEAPOLIS — Retailers are strongly encouraged to submit comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding three advance notices of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) issued by the agency. They are setting a maximum level of nicotine in cigarettes and possibly other tobacco products, the role of flavors in tobacco products, and the premium-cigar category.

An ANPRM is a request by the FDA for information, data and studies on an issue and is not an actual proposed regulation. Rather, the agency is seeking information to determine whether a new regulation should be proposed in the future.

Comments can be submitted to the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products by mail or at www.regulations.gov. Comments are submitted separately for each of the three ANPMRs. The deadlines to submit comments are July 16 for the ANPMR on nicotine, July 19 for the ANPRM on flavors in tobacco, and July 25 for the ANPRM on premium cigars.

[Editor’s Note: This article was updated on June 7 to reflect revised FDA deadlines.]

Here are some steps and suggestions for submitting comments:

How to Submit Comments

By mail:

  • Submit comments to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. At the top of the letter, type “Docket No. FDA-2017-N-6189.”

By web:

  1. Use the following links for each ANPRM.
    Nicotine: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FDA-2017-N-6189-0001 
    Flavors: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FDA-2017-N-6565-0001 
    Premium cigar: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FDA-2017-N-6107-0001
  2. Type your comments into the box beneath the word “Comment,” or scroll down to upload an already-typed letter.
  3. You may, but are not required to, fill in the boxes labeled “First Name” and “Last Name.”
  4. If you want to provide your ZIP code and email address, click on the box in front of “I want to provide my contact information” and then type in your information. This step is optional.
  5. The next box is titled “Category” and an answer must be selected. Select “Private Industry” if the comments are being submitted by you as a retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer. If you or your customers desire to submit your own individual comments, click “Individual Consumer.”
  6. Click the “Continue” button to be taken to a “Your Preview” page. If all the information is correct, scroll down, read the filing statement and then click on the box in front of “I read and understand the statement above.”
  7. Finally, click the “Submit Comment” button to submit your comments. You will then be provided with a receipt of submission.

What Should You Say?

What follows is a list of suggested topics that retailers and wholesalers may consider including when submitting comments to the FDA.

On the nicotine ANPRM: 

  • Setting a low level of nicotine in cigarettes and possibly other tobacco products could result in the creation of an illegal market for cigarettes and tobacco products that have a higher level of nicotine. 
  • Criminal elements that would sell tobacco products with a higher level of nicotine would not be concerned with verifying the legal age of individuals, which could allow underage youth to have more easy access to tobacco products.
  • The FDA should not adopt a regulation that promotes the illegal sale of tobacco products in the marketplace. A government agency should work to minimize crime, not create an opportunity for individuals to engage in illegal tobacco sales.
  • If an illegal market for higher nicotine cigarettes and other tobacco products occurs, retail sales will decrease along with a decline in sales of other products sold in stores. This decline in legal sales will reduce the amount of federal and state cigarette and tobacco product excise taxes and also decrease the amount of state sales tax collected. 
  • The FDA should study the potential consequences of lowering the level of nicotine in cigarettes and other tobacco products, including organized criminal activity, law enforcement resources needed to respond to illegal tobacco sales, easier access to tobacco products by underage youth, the potential reduction in legal sales of cigarettes and tobacco products, and the effect of reduced federal and state excise tax and state sales tax collections on federal and state budgets. One outcome of requiring lower nicotine cigarettes is that adult smokers might smoke more cigarettes than they currently do to obtain the same level of nicotine. Another outcome may be that adult smokers attempt to add nicotine to cigarettes or other tobacco products to increase the level of nicotine.

On the flavors ANPRM: 

  • Prohibiting all flavors in tobacco products will remove hundreds of tobacco product SKUs from retail store shelves.
  • An across-the-board ban on flavors in tobacco products will also eliminate entire categories of other flavored tobacco products, including cigars, electronic cigarettes, vapor products and hookah tobacco. The legislation that Congress passed and that the president signed into law granting the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products specifically prohibits the FDA from banning all cigarettes, all smokeless tobacco products, all little cigars, all cigars other than little cigars, all pipe tobacco, or all roll-your-own tobacco products. Any FDA regulation that prohibits flavors and in turn eliminates an entire category of tobacco products would be contrary to the limitation placed on the agency by Congress.
  • Adult consumers prefer flavors in a variety of forms, including food products, soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco products. Flavoring is commonplace throughout many industries that produce consumable goods. The FDA should allow adult consumers to determine what kinds of tobacco products they purchase and not limit consumer choices.
  • Many adult tobacco users have transitioned to noncombustible tobacco products or electronic cigarettes and vapor products, which can represent a reduced harm compared to traditional combustible tobacco products. In addition, studies have found that adults have used e-cigarettes and vapor products to quit smoking altogether. One reason for this transition and use of e-cigarettes and vapor products is the availability of different flavored products. Restricting or prohibiting flavors may cause adults to continue to use, or return to using, other combustible tobacco products. 

On the premium cigars ANPRM:

The FDA is asking for the following information:

  • Based on information provided by my customers, the average age that my customers began smoking premium cigars is ____ years old.
  • The age range of my customers that currently smoke premium cigars is from ____ years old to ____ years old.
  • Generally, my customers started smoking premium cigars before (after) smoking or using other tobacco products.
  • Generally, my customers use (insert the other kinds of tobacco products used such as domestic cigars, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, vapor products, pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco, or hookah tobacco).
  • On average, my customers smoke _____ premium cigars per day, _____ premium cigars per week and _____ premium cigars per month.

Will Submitting Comments Make a Difference?

The most direct and simple answer to this question is yes. The FDA has indicated that FDA staff members read every comment that is submitted. It is very important that members of the tobacco industry, including retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, and consumers, all submit comments to the FDA.


Thomas Briant is executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO). Reach him at (866) 869-8888 or info@natocentral.com.

Author(s): 
Thomas A. Briant

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