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Court Pushes Back Timeline for Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

The new effective date is Nov. 6, 2023.
Graphic Cigarette Warning

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cigarette packaging and advertisements will not feature graphic health warnings until early November 2023.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas issued an order postponing the effective date of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) graphic cigarette health warning regulation by another 31 days from Oct. 6, 2023 to Nov. 6, 2023. 

The court's order, which was issued on Nov. 7, also pushes back the preferred filing deadline for manufacturers and retailers to submit cigarette health warning rotational plans to the FDA by 31 days, according to the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).

Each manufacturer and retailer that creates its own cigarette advertisements is required to file a plan with the FDA that sets forth the schedule for rotating the eleven graphic cigarette health warnings on cigarette advertisements. The preferred filing deadline for cigarette health warning rotational plans should now be Jan. 6, 2023, the association said.

According to NATO, the court expects to issue its ruling on the cross-motions for summary judgment in the case within 31 days.

The FDA issued its final rule on the warnings, which feature a combination of text and images depicting some of the health risks of cigarette smoking, in March 2020. However, implementation has been postponed multiple times after several tobacco companies asked for the date to be moved back.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas last postponed the date on Aug. 20, setting the previous Oct. 6, 2023 deadline.

The warnings will be required to appear on the top 50 percent of the front and back of cigarette packages and at least 20 percent of the top of ads. In addition, the warnings must be randomly and equally displayed and distributed on cigarette packages and rotated quarterly in cigarette advertisements, as Convenience Store News previously reported.

There are 11 required warnings. They are:

  • WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
  • WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
  • WARNING: Smoking causes head and neck cancer.
  • WARNING: Smoking causes bladder cancer, which can lead to bloody urine.
  • WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy stunts fetal growth.
  • WARNING: Smoking can cause heart disease and strokes by clogging arteries.
  • WARNING: Smoking causes COPD, a lung disease that can be fatal.
  • WARNING: Smoking reduces blood flow, which can cause erectile dysfunction.
  • WARNING: Smoking reduces blood flow to the limbs, which can require amputation.
  • WARNING: Smoking causes type 2 diabetes, which raises blood sugar.
  • WARNING: Smoking causes cataracts, which can lead to blindness.
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