NATO Asks FDA to Correct Retail Flier

Flier revision requested to specify types of tobacco under jurisdiction

Thomas A. Briant, NATO Executive Director

NATO has requested that the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products correct a statement in the agency's Break the Chain retail flier that states retailers are not allowed to sell or give away to adult customers an item that has a tobacco brand name or logo. Specifically, the yellow Break the Chain flier states: "Do NOT sell or give away items, such as hats or t-shirts, with tobacco brands or logos."

At the FDA's Retail Stakeholder meeting held this past August, NATO representatives brought this statement in the Break the Chain flier to the attention of FDA staff, since the agency's regulations only prohibit items from containing cigarette, roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco brand names or logos.  

If you search of the FDA Web site, you will find a new version of the Break the Chain retail flier, which includes a clarifying statement that now reads: "Do NOT sell or give away items, such as hats, t-shirts, or lighters, with cigarette and smokeless tobacco brands or logos." A copy of this revised version of the flier can be accessed by clicking here.

However, on the FDA's clearinghouse Web page where copies of the Break the Chain fliers can be ordered, the prior version of the flier with the incorrect statement is shown. Moreover, NATO has learned that over the past several weeks retailers have received in the mail a copy of the Break the Chain flier with the language banning the selling or giving away of items with "tobacco brands or logos." This mailing of the prior version of the flier would confuse retailers since the FDA regulations only apply to cigarettes, roll-your-own and smokeless tobacco—not all tobacco products.

NATO has asked Dr. Lawrence Deyton, the Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, to investigate this matter and, if appropriate, take the following corrective action: (1) remove the prior version of the Break the Chain flier from the FDA clearinghouse Web site page; (2) determine what organization or agency recently mailed the inaccurate flier to retailers; and (3) have the organization or agency that mailed the flier send a letter to each retailer that would have received the inaccurate flier, explaining the error and enclosing an updated version of the Break the Chain flier. Deyton has responded to NATO that his staff will review the matter this week.

For retailers, this means that items with a cigar or pipe tobacco brand name or logo can be legally sold or given away to adult consumers since the FDA has not at this time adopted any regulations regarding cigars and pipe tobacco.