New FDA rules restrict tobacco marketing to kids
Marketing tobacco products to kids and teens will be restricted under new FDA rules to be published Friday.
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Under the 2001 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement with the states, tobacco companies had agreed to limit their marketing and advertising. However, there were still some gaps.Skip to next paragraph
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For example, they were allowed one major sponsorship such as U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co.'s support of professional rodeo (which ended in 2009). Under the new FDA rules, such sponsorship will be prohibited.
Previous rules being challenged
However, some previous efforts by the FDA to handcuff the industry are being challenged by the tobacco companies in court.
For example, the FDA has proposed restricting store ads, as well as advertisement that run in magazines with large youth readership, to black and white with no pictures. A federal judge in Kentucky, citing First Amendment issues, has ruled against the FDA, which is appealing the ruling.
“If the FDA does not win on appeal, they will modify that rule consistent with the judge’s ruling,” says Mr. Myers.
The FDA had also proposed a ban on billboards within 1,000 feet of a school or playground. That effort is also being challenged.
The marketing restrictions are just the start of FDA's examination of tobacco. On March 30, an expert scientific advisory board will have its first meeting to discuss the role of menthol in cigarettes and whether the FDA should take steps to curtail or eliminate its use.
“There is substantial evidence menthol appeals to young people and plays a role in getting young people to be smokers,” says Myers.
The FDA is also planning to revise the warning labels on cigarettes. On June 22, 2011, the government will publish new rules requiring graphic pictures of the harm smoking does. The new packaging will go into effect 15 months later.
Because many states are running out of money from the tobacco settlements and ending their antitobacco efforts, the FDA’s efforts are especially welcomed by Myers. “The FDA stepping in at this point is really critical,” he says.
Despite these efforts, the tobacco industry is adapting. R.J. Reynolds is advertising its smokeless tobacco product, Camel SNUS, in such publications as Rolling Stone and Nylon, which are popular with young people.
And a recent study by the University of California at San Diego found a significant increase in the number of young girls who could identify a favorite cigarette ad. Their favorite: Camel No. 9's, which have been marketed as “light and luscious.” They're packaged in a pink and black box.