FDA Proposes New Graphic Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Tobacco Advertisements

On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a proposed rule to require tobacco companies to include graphic warnings on cigarette packages and tobacco advertisements in an attempt to promote greater public understanding of the negative health consequences of smoking. Recall, the photo-realistic images and detailed health warnings were required under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the comprehensive federal law that widely governs tobacco marketing and sales, enforcement, and oversight.

However, the tobacco industry successfully sued the FDA, claiming the labeling were scare tactics and that their First Amendment rights were violated. In the latest regulation proposal released this week, the FDA indicates the images and health warnings closely align with the factual dangers of tobacco use, including increased risks of health and neck cancer, lung disease, and diabetes.

Should the FDA’s proposed labeling move forward, it will be the first mandated update in 35 years to required warning on cigarette packaging and in tobacco advertisements. The earliest the new labeling and warnings could appear on tobacco products is 2021. The 13 proposed graphics and additional information, including a public comment opportunity, are available here.