WASHINGTON — A set of federal requirements designed to curb access to and the appeal of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to children and adolescents was issued by the Food and Drug Administration here Thursday. The new rule becomes effective June 22.
In addition to prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to those under 18, it prohibits the sale of cigarette packages with less than 20 cigarettes; distribution of free samples of cigarettes; and tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical or other social or cultural events.
The FDA will work to educate retailers about the new requirements and assist them in understanding how to comply with them. Once the rule takes effect, the FDA will work with states and territories to ensure retailer compliance.
“Every day nearly 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette and 1,000 kids under 18 become daily smokers,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, in a statement. “This is an avoidable personal tragedy for those kids and their families as well as a preventable public health disaster for our country. Putting these restrictions in place is necessary to protect the health of those we care most about: our children.”
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