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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Compliance Check Inspections of Tobacco Product Retailers

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Q: My search returns the message “0 Inspection Results Returned.”

A: Try the following recommendations:

  • Retailer name data are not standardized. Entering a short search phrase in the Retailer Name field will produce better results than a longer search phrase. Please refer to the following examples,
    • Search for "smart" to find all occurrences of Retailer Name "Smart-Shop" including spellings such as "smart shop" and "smartshop"
    • Search for "Joe" to find all occurrences of Retailer Name "Joe's Place" including spellings such as "Joes Place" and "Joe's Pl."
  • Enter information in fewer fields. For example, instead of entering the city, state, and zip code, enter only the zip code.
  • Confirm the spelling of the retailer name and other words in your search.


Q: My search returns the following message: “Your search query returned over 10,000 results. Please narrow your search for display on the map.”

A: The application restricts the number of locations viewed on the map to 10,000 results. The maximum number of records that can be viewed in the Export Results to Excel and Print Friendly reports is 100,000 and 5,000 respectively. To narrow your search results try the following recommendations:

  • Add more information to your search. For example, include the city and zip code for searches or specify a date range.
  • Search for unique words, such as names of retailers.


Q: How do I search for all records before, after, or on a specific date?

A: The search application will return all results before or after a specific date by leaving the appropriate box blank.

  • To search for records after a specific date, enter a date only in the first box of the “Decision Date” field. Leave the second box blank.
  • To search for records before a specific date, enter the date only in the second box of the “Decision Date” box. Leave the first box blank.
  • To search for records on a specific date, enter the same date in both boxes.


Q: How are the data sorted when I do my search?

A: After clicking on Search to obtain your resulting records, the data will be initially sorted by Decision Date (descending order), followed by a secondary sort by Retailer Name (ascending order). 

You can resort the data by clicking on the column headers on the search results page; however, you will not be able to return to the initial sort order except by conducting a new search.  The data will be resorted by the selected column and the Retailer Name. Clicking on the same column header a second time will reverse the sort order. When sorting on Retailer Name, there is no secondary sort.


Q: How can I export this dataset? What formats are supported?

A: The dataset can be exported to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. There are multiple options to export the dataset:

  • To export the dataset by fiscal year, click the “Export Data to Excel by Fiscal Year” link below the search box. In the pop-up that opens up, select the fiscal year you would like to download the report for and click on Export.
  • To export selected results, click the “Export Results to Excel” link at the top of the results table.


Q: I am trying to access information that does not appear to be in your database. Do you have additional information, and how can I gain access?

A: There may be additional information on a specific subject. Please see the Freedom of Information web page for information on submitting a request.


Q: Why are some of the states on the map grayed out or return no results after a search is performed?

A: While the FDA is rolling out the Compliance Check Inspection program across the nation, states and territories in which inspections have not yet been completed appear grayed out and will not display results.


Q: Why are the results on the map different than the results provided in the table?

A: There are two reasons the amount of data displayed on the map may differ from the amount of data displayed in the table:

  • If the address listed for the establishment in the table cannot be reconciled with the Google map application, the record will not appear on the map.
  • The table displays every inspection individually, however, the pins displayed on the map identify individual establishments, not individual inspections, therefore, one pin may represent more than one inspection result.


About the Database

Compliance check inspections of tobacco product retailers are conducted to determine a retailer's compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act), as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) and the Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents, found at Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 1140 (21 C.F.R. Part 1140). For information on FDA's tobacco laws and regulations, visit Guidance, Compliance & Regulations.

The OCE Inspections database allows users to search for inspection reports by Retailer Name, City, State, and Zip code. Additional search functions include:

  • Inspection Result: Choose either “All”, “No-Tobacco-Sale Order”, “Civil Money Penalty”, “Warning Letter Issued”, or “No Violations Observed”.
  • Decision Date: Use the calendar widget to enter one date or a date range, or search for all records before or after one specific date.
  • Search: Instructs the dataset to search for the specified terms.


Please note

  • The OCE Inspections Help page is designed to open in a new browser window, as are the Civil Money Penalty and No-Tobacco-Sale Order links that may be included in search results. Pop-up blockers may interfere with this feature.
  • When searching within a date range dates must be entered in the format: mm/dd/yyyy. For example: 05/01/2011.
  • Non-standard characters in the data may cause display anomalies in some records, such as inverted question mark or a small black box appearing in a retailer name.
  • The search is not case sensitive.  Therefore, it does not matter whether you enter words in upper case, lower case, or a combination.