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FDA hopes to spark new anti-smoking labels

Proposed rule would change labeling requirements for cigarette imports.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing a proposed rule to establish new required health warnings for cigarette packages and advertisements, which would apply to imports, the agency said.

The proposed rule would implement a provision of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requiring FDA to issue regulations requiring color graphics depicting negative health consequences of smoking to accompany new textual warning statements, FDA said.

Any forthcoming regulation would specify color graphics that must accompany the new textual warning statements.

Once finalized, the new cigarette health warnings would prominently appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements, occupying the top 50% of the front and rear panels of cigarette packages and at least 20% of the area at the top of cigarette advertisements, FDA said.

Existing surgeon general warnings “have been shown to go unnoticed and be ‘invisible,’” FDA said.

A tobacco product manufacturer/importer, distributor or retailer would be required to submit a plan to the FDA for the random and equal display and distribution of required warnings on packages and a quarterly rotation of required warnings for advertisements for approval by the FDA.

FDA will accept comments on the proposed rule through October 15.

Brian Bradley

Based in Washington, D.C., Brian covers international trade policy for American Shipper and FreightWaves. In the past, he covered nuclear defense, environmental cleanup, crime, sports, and trade at various industry and local publications.