AWMA Urges FDA to Avoid Imposing Burdensome New Tobacco Reporting Rules
AWMA President & CEO Scott Ramminger Wednesday urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to refrain from issuing additional onerous reporting requirements on distributors when finalizing rules on non-face-to-face sales and distribution of tobacco products.
(In the photo, Ramminger and Anne Holloway, AWMA vice president of government affairs, pause before meeting with FDA officials.)
Ramminger, addressing representatives of FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, explained the role of convenience distributors in the sale of tobacco products and stressed AWMA's role in enactment of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act), which is now helping to reduce remote sales, particularly internet sales, of cigarettes for the purpose of evading appropriate taxes.
"We are very much aligned with the FDA and other agencies that want to stamp out illicit trade in cigarettes," Ramminger told a group of about 20 FDA officials at the CTP offices in Rockville, MD. "AWMA members are the good guys. They follow the rules."
But Ramminger also stressed that numerous states have misinterpreted the new law's requirements to apply to legitimate distributors, not just those remote sellers, and have begun to request mountains of new paperwork from AWMA distributor members. Much of the information being requested duplicates what is already supplied in other reports, and it is so detailed in its scope as to be "overwhelming."
"These reporting requirements were clearly intended for those remote sellers -- who do not sell at the volume of our distributor members -- and who, unlike our members, do not make any reports at all," Ramminger said. He pointed out that AWMA is working with the Federation of Tax Administrators and the National Association of Attorneys General in an effort to obtain relief. He said AWMA also is urging states to adopt a more streamlined, electronic system of reporting, including a model report form for states to use.
Ramminger noted that the PACT Act is reducing illicit cigarette sales and that the number of websites selling illegal cigarettes has declined since the law was enacted. But AWMA remains concerned, he stressed, that the new law has been "over-extended," targeting legitimate distributors with unreasonably burdensome and unnecessary reporting requirements originally intended for remote sellers.
To review Ramminger's complete statement, please click here.