FDA Issues Final Rule on Health Warnings for Cigarette Packages


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule on March 18 that launches updated graphic health warning requirements for cigarette packages and advertisements. In the final rule, FDA acknowledges that the 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 retailers of cigarettes 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 have not been altered or obscured. Cigarette retailers will be subject to the other advertisement provisions in the final rule if the retailer creates the cigarette advertisements.

The new rule will go into effect on June 18, 2020.

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