Court Delays Graphic Health Warning Rule Effective Date


The effective date for new graphic health warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements has once again been delayed. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued a ruling on Aug. 18 that postpones the Food and Drug Administration's rule outlining the graphic health warning requirements until October 11, 2022.

The final rule’s provisions mostly impact cigarette manufacturers and distributors rather than retailers. Travel center operators that sell tobacco products, however, must ensure cigarette packages and advertisements contain a warning and cannot alter or obscure the warning in any way.

The final rule requires cigarette retailers confirm the cigarette packaging:

·       contains a warning;

·       is supplied to the retailer by a licensed cigarette manufacturer or distributor; and

·       is not altered or obscured by the retailer.

Likewise, if a cigarette retailer receives an advertisement from the cigarette manufacturer, they must make sure the advertisement contains a warning and the warning has not been altered or obscured.

Cigarette retailers will be subject to the other provisions in the final rule if the retailer creates the cigarette advertisements. When the final rule goes into effect, NATSO advises travel center operators that are considering using or creating their own tobacco advertisements to refrain from doing so and instead to use advertisements that the cigarette manufacturer provides to avoid triggering additional compliance requirements.


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