FDA Issues Updated Guidance for Small Cigar Warning Labels

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FDA issues guidance for small cigar packaging

As Tobacco Business has reported in the past, part of the new regulations imposed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is that warning labels will need to be added to all premium cigar packaging [read more here]. After Aug. 10, 2018, it will be illegal for anyone to make, package, sell, distribute, offer or import for sale or distribution any cigar that doesn’t have the required warning statement in the U.S. While this may be easy (though not aesthetically pleasing) for cigar boxes, the question from many cigar manufacturers is how will this be handled for premium cigars that are sold individually and especially small cigars? The FDA now has some answers for that question.

The requirement officially goes into effect on Aug. 10, 2018 but cigar manufacturers must begin putting plans in place now in order to comply with this new requirement. On Aug. 22, 2017, the FDA issued a new guidance document titled “Warning Statements on Small-Packaged Cigars.” In this document, the FDA informed cigar manufacturers that they will not be required to label each cigar individually with one of the required warning statements. Instead, the FDA says that a statement posted near the point of sale (POS) can satisfy this requirement. The FDA also does not intend to take enforcement action for warning statement requirements when the information appears on the “carton or other outer container or wrapper that could accommodate the warning statements, or on a tag otherwise firmly and permanently affixed to the cigar package.”

As previously stated by the FDA, cigar boxes will have to have one of six warning labels on it. This has been one of the complaints from cigar manufacturers in that the boxes and box art are part of what makes cigar products unique and that will be disrupted when the FDA requires cigar boxes and packaging to have a warning label statement that comprises at least 30 percent of the two main display panels on the cigar packaging. The font in the warning label cannot be smaller than 12-points as well.

You can read the full compliance policy document here. For all the latest news on the FDA and legislation news, click here.

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