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FDA Graphic Cigarette Health Warning Effective Date Extended

The following is an update from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) sourced through their May 29th online bulletin. Reposted with permission.

Agency Also Updates Guidance Documents on Graphic Cigarette Warnings

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced this week that the effective date for the agency’s new cigarette graphic and text health warnings has now been extended from June 18, 2021 to October 16, 2021.  This 120-day extension was granted by the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Texas based on a joint motion of the FDA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, ITG Brands, Liggett Group and five tobacco retailers that are all part of a lawsuit filed against the FDA to overturn the new cigarette health warnings.  In addition to this lawsuit, there is a second lawsuit filed by Philip Morris USA Inc. and Sherman Group Holdings, LLC in the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia against the FDA that also seeks to invalidate both the FDA’s new text and graphic cigarette health warnings and the requirement under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that the FDA promulgate such graphic health warnings.

In this week’s announcement, the FDA also updated two guidance documents relating to the new graphic and text cigarette health warnings.  One of the guidance documents is for small business entities and is titled “Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements.”  The other updated guidance document titled “Submission of Plans for Cigarette Packages and Cigarette Advertisements” provides information on which industry members will need to file a plan with the agency for including the new graphic and text warnings on cigarette packages and cigarette advertisements.  Copies of both of these updated FDA guidance documents appear below.

With extended effective date now being October 16, 2021, the FDA’s announcement encouraged companies to submit cigarette plans “as soon as possible, and in any event by Dec. 16, 2020…to facilitate timely FDA review of plans prior to the effective date of the required warnings.”

State Legislative Bill Actions

State tobacco-related legislative bills that have been acted on by a state legislative committee or state legislature are listed below alphabetically by state:

Arizona:  Two similar bills, House Bill 2826 and House Bill 2853, which would have raised the minimum legal sales age to 21, died on adjournment on May 26, 2020.

Colorado:  House Bill 1001, which increases the minimum sales age for tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21; requires vapor product retailers to obtain a license; and prohibits new tobacco product or vapor product retailers from being located within 500 feet of a school, was reported favorably by the Senate Finance Committee and moved to the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 26, 2020.

Massachusetts:  Senate Bill 2605, which would increase the excise tax on cigarettes by 100% on an annual basis, was heard in the Joint Committee on Revenue on May 19, 2020.

Rhode Island:  Senate Bill 2802, which creates a minimum markup of 7% on the total cost of cigarettes sold at retail (the total cost includes the invoice cost plus the cigarette excise tax, the freight charges and cartage cost if paid by the retailer); increases retailer cost of cartage to 2% and the cost of doing business to 8%; increases wholesaler cost of cartage to 2% and the cost of doing business to 4%, was referred to the Senate Finance Committee on March 12, 2020.

Virginia:  House Bill 30 (budget bill), which increases the cigarette tax to $.03 per cigarette, doubles the tax on tobacco products and implements a new tax on liquid nicotine products at a rate of $0.066 per milliliter, was enacted on May 21, 2020.  The effective date for the tax increases is July 1, 2020.