Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spotlight: FDA Provisions effective in June

As part of the compromise brokered between health advocates and Big Tobacco, certain elements of the FDA Regulation of Tobacco had phase in periods. Starting June 22 this year a number of different regulations will go into effect. 

As previously discussed on our blog terms like "light," "mild," and  "low" are prohibited from packaging.

Other provisions include:
  • Larger, stronger warnings on smokeless tobacco product packaging and advertisements.   
  • The removal of vending machines in facilities where youth under 18 are present. Vending machines would still be allowable in businesses which cater to adults only. 
  • Product branded t-shirts, hats, and other swag are prohibited from being sold along with a tobacco product- say good bye to packs of Marlboro with a free T-shirt!
  • Cigarettes may not be sold in packages fewer than 20. (Smaller packages are rare, now they will be completely eliminated.)
  • All advertising for both cigarettes and smokeless products must be in plain black text on a white background. Magazine ads must be placed in  publications with fewer than 2 million youth readers.  
  • Commercials for tobacco will change too- they can only be spoken words no music or jingles. Adult only facilities may allow audio ads with jingles or the like. 
  • No billboards or other outdoor advertisements are permitted within 1000 feet of schools, parks or playgrounds. 
  • Sponsoring cultural and athletic events is a thing of the past as well. No smokeless at the rodeo and no Phillip Morris at the baseball game. 
  • No free samples of tobacco, except smokeless in adult-only venues which meet certain restrictions. 

Over the next few days check back on our blog to learn a little bit more about some of these provisions. Tobacco control waited a long time to finally rein in Big Tobacco in more meaningful ways. Despite compromises and delays this is a landmark piece of legislation which will ultimately reduce the burden of tobacco for generations to come. It looks like the hammer has finally dropped on Big Tobacco. 

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