Citizen Outreach

FDA taps video mailers to educate on tobacco

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The FDA already provides a wide range of retailer-education materials, including online "widgets" like the one shown above. A recent solicitation suggests the agency plans to add video greeting cards to that portfolio.

The Food and Drug Administration hopes to use programmed video greeting cards to educate retailers about compliance with a 2010 smoking prevention law designed to keep cigarettes, snuff, and other tobacco products out of the hands of underage users.

The FDA currently maintains a catalog of posters, mailers, interactive widgets, e-mails, RSS feeds, sharable online graphics, YouTube videos, podcasts, and webinars designed to give retailers details on the Tobacco Control Act, which requires photo-ID checks of would-be tobacco buyers who appear to be under the age of 27, and prohibits breaking up cigarette packs to sell individual smokes.

According to a recent posting on FedBizOpps, the FDA plans to use greeting cards programmed with compliance videos to train retailers on "violations frequently observed during inspections in an attempt to achieve prompt, voluntary compliance with the law and regulations."

Blank video cards with the performance and memory capabilities and size being sought by FDA are available commercially without content for about $15 to $25 a pop, according to e-commerce listings. The FDA's Center for Tobacco Products will supply the content. The FDA estimates that the agency will order about 1,000 of the video card units per year over the life of the contract.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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