Court Pushes Cigarette Health Warnings Effective Date to January 2023

Retailers encouraged to submit plans to the FDA in next 4 months
Cigarette health warning
Photograph courtesy of the FDA

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A Texas court has again postponed the effective date new cigarette health warnings will be required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The ever-changing deadline, which has been postponed several times, is now set at Jan. 9, 2023. The FDA recommends that retailers submit cigarette plans by March 12, 2022, if they create or produce cigarette advertisements.

The FDA finalized the rule in March 2020 that requires 11 new cigarette health warnings consisting of textual warning statements accompanied by color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of cigarette smoking.

Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers that create their own cigarette advertisements must 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.

The rule has been challenged by several lawsuits.

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’ 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.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued the postponement in the case of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. et al vs. United States FDA et al on Nov. 12.

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