WASHINGTON -- While much of the language in the final federal guidance for tobacco-product samples released in October was similar to standards outlined initially in January, two areas received more concrete direction: business-to-business samples and games of chance, according to a tobacco-retail association.
Minneapolis-based NATO recently outlined the following changes to the draft rules.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it does not intend to enforce its free-product sample ban in incidences where the samples are distributed in limited quantities between:
- a manufacturer and a distributor,
- a manufacturer and a retailer,
- and a distributor and a retailer.
“Limited quantities” is defined as no more than necessary to achieve a business or marketing goal to make a business aware of a product in order to encourage the purchase of the product, NATO representatives wrote in a recent newsletter. For example, according to the association, a pack of a product should be “limited,” where a case would not.
Games of Chance
The FDA made a decision in its guidance language that contests or games of chance are not prohibited under the free-sample ban. However, the prize cannot be a tobacco product unless the prize is given as a part of a tobacco-product sales transaction involving an exchange of money.
NATO reported that the FDA guidance does not clarify whether the purchase of a ticket for a chance to win a tobacco product would be allowed under the free-sample ban. However, the FDA guidance does allow customers to enter into a drawing or raffle for a prize of either a discount in the price of a tobacco product or a coupon for a free tobacco product at the time another tobacco product is purchased.
NATO officials also noted that there are other state and federal laws that retailers need to comply with regarding games of chance, and a retailer should investigate these laws before conducting such games.