warning label pic

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is putting its stamp on tobacco products, warning consumers of nicotine addictiveness.

In a Tuesday statement, the agency now requires all products in the tobacco industry to include the following FDA warning labels.

The new cautionary statement reads: “WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.”

Niches affected by the FDA warning labels ruling include advertising and packaging of vapor products, cigarette tobacco, cigars, hookah tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, electronic cigarettes and pipe tobacco, according to a press release.

To help the industry prepare, the FDA on May 10 released a health-warning guide statement, which outlined the new compliance requirements. Entitled “Three-Month Extension of Certain Tobacco Product Compliance Deadlines Related to the Final Deeming Rule,” the document provided a roadmap for industry leaders to comply with the new standards.

The following are compliance dates for the different spaces:

For covered tobacco products, the new nicotine addictiveness warning statement must be present on the packaging by Aug. 10, applying to distributors, importers, manufacturers, and retailers that develop their own advertisements.

Manufacturers have until Sept. 11 to distribute all covered tobacco products without the new label. The FDA included a retail “safe harbor” exception to its Aug. 10 deadline if three conditions are met:

  • The covered tobacco package “contains a health warning.”
  • The manufacturer who supplies the covered tobacco product is fully licensed by local, state, and federal agencies, including the Alcohol Tobaccos Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)
  • The retailer does not alter the health warning.

Print advertisers also have new guidelines. Among the most prominent alterations, warning statements must cover at least 20 percent of the ad and the lettering must be black on a white background, with a font size of at least 12 points and be in Helvetica bold or Arial bold type.

The print ad also must be flanked by a rectangular border. The multi-media warning must be present on a series of promotional materials, including brochures, catalogs, direct mail, cellphones, display racks, emails, leaflets, Magazines, Newspapers, internet web pages, posters, placards, social media applications, television, and websites will be affected.