Four local businesses were given warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after employees were caught selling e-cigarettes to underage customers. 

It’s part of a sting that lasted from June to September that left over 1,300 retailers nationwide with those same warnings. 

The FDA is calling it the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the association’s history. 

The four local shops that were cited with a warning letter include:

  • Dillon’s Fuel Center #249 at 2212 North Maize Road in Wichita
  • ABC Discount Liquor/Smoke Shop at 7310 West Central Avenue in Wichita
  • Southside Convenience at 703 Vine Street in Hays
  • Walgreens at 2600 Vine Street in Hays

The FDA issued 13 other violations in Kansas. 

KSN reached out to all four of the local shops. A spokesperson from Dillons told KSN the company will work on additional coaching and training at the location and “partners with third party auditors to conduct random tobacco and alcohol stings at all our locations as a means to validate our training efforts and correct issues.”

The other three shops had no comment on the violations. 

At Big E’s Vapor Shop in Wichita, Burl Simmons, one of the owners, said he knows what it’s like to get a warning. After one state violation at his store, management stepped up their policies. 

“We just told our people when we started hiring them, if they don’t look 30, you ID them,” Simmons said. 

One Hays resident said not all stores ask for ID. 

“Just depends when you walk inside and see what’s going on with them,” said Jack Harrison. “So, if you walk in there and buy a beer, they’re going to card you. But if you buy tobacco, they ain’t going to card you.”

It’s a lesson Simmons said he’s had to learn and hopes others will pay more attention. 

“If they don’t look 30, card them until you get to know your customers and enforce that policy with the most severe penalty, which is their job if that’s what it takes.” Simmons said. 

The FDA said failure to correct the violation could lead to federal actions or even fines. They will be back to check on each business to make sure they are complying with all laws and regulations. 

For more information about the FDA sting or to see a full list of the businesses that were cited, visit the FDA’s website.