FDA says ads for e-cigarettes, vapor products must carry warning


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requiring a new warning statement be included on packaging and advertisements for electronic cigarettes, vapor products, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco and cigars.

The new health-warning statement requirements and compliance dates were announced in a guidance document issued by the FDA on May 10. 

Beginning Aug. 10, advertisements for the covered tobacco products must bear the new addictiveness warning. The requirement applies to manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers that create their own advertisements for covered tobacco products.

The required statement reads: "WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical."

For print advertisements the warning statement must comply with the following requirements:

  • Appear in the upper portion of the advertisement within the trim around the edge.
  • Occupy at least 20 percent of the area of the advertisement.
  • Appear in at least 12-point font size that ensures that the required warning statement occupies the greatest possible proportion of the warning area set aside for the text required.
  • Be in Helvetica bold or Arial bold type (or other similar sans serif fonts) in black text on a white background or white text on a black background in a manner that contrasts by typography, layout or color with all other material on the advertisement.
  • Be capitalized and punctuated exactly as statements provided by the FDA.
  • Be centered in the warning area in which the text is required to appear and positioned such that the text of the required warning statement and the other textual information in the advertisement have the same orientation.
  • Be surrounded by a rectangular border that is the same color as the text of the required warning statement and that is not less than three millimeters or more than four millimeters.

In addition to newspaper ads, the rules apply to promotional materials (point-of-sale or non-point-of-sale), posters, placards, magazines, catalogues, leaflets, brochures, direct mail, display racks, websites, internet webpages, TV and email correspondence, as well as advertisements communicated via cellphone, social-media applications or other programs that allow for the sharing of audio, video or photography files.

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