Retailers' Perceptions of FDA Tobacco Regulation Authority

Tob Regul Sci. 2019 May;5(3):291-300. doi: 10.18001/trs.5.3.7. Epub 2019 May 1.


Objectives: Research is limited on tobacco retailers' perceptions of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) tobacco regulatory authority overall, and less exists related to retailers in predominantly African-American or other racial/ethnic neighborhoods. We assessed differences in perceptions of the FDA's tobacco regulatory authority and barriers to compliance among retailers in African-American and non-African-American neighborhoods in Los Angeles, California.

Methods: Overall, 700 tobacco retailer interviews assessed demographic characteristics and perceptions of the FDA.

Results: Retailers in African-American neighborhoods self-identified as Hispanic/Latino (43.9% vs 39.6% non-African-American), African-American (21.2% vs 2.6% non-African-American) or Asian (19.7% vs 19.5% non-African-American). Retailers in African-American neighborhoods were significantly less likely to perceive the FDA as a trustworthy source (p = .03; vs non-African-American), but more likely to report that they do not know the federal rules (p = .002), do not understand the federal rules (p = .004), and that tobacco companies encourage them not to follow the federal rules (p = .04).

Conclusions: Tobacco control agencies can use this information about retailer perceptions to design education/training materials in order to increase trust, mitigate barriers, and enhance compliance.

Keywords: compliance; retailer perceptions; tobacco control; tobacco retailers.