March 18, 2010 -- A new FDA rule greatly expands current restrictions
on the sale and advertising of tobacco products to children and teens.
The new rule is made possible by last year's passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco
Control Act, which gave the FDA the long-sought power to regulate tobacco.
The rule, which has the force of federal law, takes effect on June 22. Among
Bans sale of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco to anyone under age 18.
Forbids tobacco brand-name sponsorship of any "athletic, musical, or other
social or cultural event, or any team or entry in those events."
Bans sale of cigarette packs containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.
Bans sale of cigarettes via vending machines or self-service displays
"except in very limited situations."
Prohibits free samples of cigarettes and limits samples of smokeless
Forbids gifts in exchange for buying tobacco products.
Allows only words -- and no music or sound effects -- in audio ads for
Bans the sale or distribution of gear, such as hats and T-shirts, with
tobacco brands or logos.
Defending the restrictions on youth-oriented tobacco ads, Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted that the indirect advertising
allowed under current rules is effectively reaching young people.
"Despite a ban on direct marketing to young Americans, tobacco companies
have still found a way to reach out to them," Sebelius said at a news
conference. "It's no accident that Marlboro, Camel, and Newport, the three
brands that spend the most on ads, are more preferred by children than by
Sebelius has asked Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Howard
K. Koh, MD, MPH, to lead the enforcement effort. Accepting the job, Koh said
the key to antismoking efforts is preventing youth smoking.
"We all know and understand that tobacco dependence is recognized as a
pediatric disease," Koh said at the news conference. "Ninety percent of users
begin before 19 years of age. Many die too early, and for them prevention comes
Koh said the Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA would
team with states to help them inspect retail sites and to enforce the new rule.
FDA Director Margaret Hamburg, MD, said that the FDA would provide grants to
states in order to help defray the costs of inspection and enforcement.
Hamburg was asked whether lawsuits already filed by tobacco interests would
delay enforcement of the new rule.
"We are committed to implementing the law and the issuance of the
regulations we announce today. That is in the law and we are moving forward
with that," she said at the news conference.
Department of Health and Human Services news teleconference with
Kathleen Sebelius, secretary, Department of Health and Human Services; Howard
K. Koh, MD, MPH, assistant secretary for health, Department of Health and Human
Services; and Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, commissioner, FDA.
News release, Department of Health and Human Services.
Department of Health and Human Services web site: "Regulations Restricting
the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco To Protect
Children and Adolescents."