Cigarette Health Warning Deadline Pushed Again

FDA asks retailers to submit rotational plans by June 14
FDA graphic cigarette pack warning
Photograph courtesy of the Food & Drug Administration

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A court has again pushed the deadline for when new cigarette health warnings will be required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The new effective date of the rule is April 14, 2022, three months later than the previous deadline of Jan. 14, 2022, a notice on the FDA’s website said.

The FDA is encouraging retailers to submit cigarette plans by June 14, and it intends to revise its relevant guidance documents related to the rule with the new effective date.

Several lawsuits are challenging the cigarette health warning requirements, which require 11 new health warnings be implemented on cigarette packs, cartons and ads. The warnings include text statements and graphic color images.

Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers that create their own cigarette advertisements are required to file a plan with the FDA that includes the schedule for rotating the 11 warnings on cigarette packages or advertisements. Web-based or printed order guides or catalogs for retailers to order cigarettes are not considered advertisements, Thomas Briant, executive director of Minneapolis-based National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), said after clarifying with the FDA.

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based R.J. Reynolds, along with other manufacturers and retailers, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on April 3 to invalidate the FDA’s rule and Congress’s requirement that the FDA mandate the warnings. New York-based Philip Morris USA Inc. and Sherman Group Holdings LLC, owned by Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia against the FDA seeking the same resolution.

On March 2, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted motions by the plaintiffs to postpone the effective date an additional 90 days.

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