Understanding the Laws on Tobacco Advertising in the US

In this article we discuss laws regarding tobacco advertising in US - what you need to know about restrictions on content, strategies for reducing youth exposure & more.

Understanding the Laws on Tobacco Advertising in the US

In the case of smoking tobacco, roll-up tobacco, and tobacco products with coverage 1, it is illegal for any manufacturer, packer, importer, distributor, or retailer of the tobacco product to advertise or have any tobacco product advertised in the United States, unless each advertisement includes. The Federal Communications Commission rules that the Fairness Doctrine (an attempt to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by a broadcaster is balanced and fair) applies to cigarette advertising. Stations that broadcast cigarette commercials must donate airtime to anti-smoking messages. Fairness Doctrine's anti-smoking messages end when cigarette advertising on radio and television is banned.

The Civil Aeronautics Board requires non-smoking sections on all commercial airline flights. Cigarettes are suspended in K and C rations that are given to soldiers and sailors. The Department of Health and Human Services establishes a smoke-free environment in its facilities. The Federal Trade Commission takes the first enforcement action under the Comprehensive Health Education Act on Smokeless Tobacco, alleging that Pinkerton Tobacco Company's Red Man brand appeared illegally during a televised event.

The Environmental Protection Agency publishes the final environmental risk assessment of tobacco smoke (STD) and classifies the STD as a “group A” carcinogen (known in humans). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announces a proposed regulation to prohibit smoking in the workplace, except in smoking rooms with separate ventilation. The Department of Defense (DOD) prohibits smoking in DOD workplaces. The Department of Justice reaches an agreement with Philip Morris to remove tobacco advertisements from the line of sight of television cameras in sports stadiums.

President Clinton announces the publication of regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration that would restrict the sale, distribution and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to protect children and adolescents. President Clinton announces an executive order to make all federal workplaces smoke-free. The Supreme Court rules against the Food and Drug Administration's conclusion that the agency lacks the authority to regulate tobacco. You can review and change the way we collect information below.

Thank you for taking the time to confirm your preferences. If you need to go back and make any changes, you can always do so on our Privacy Policy page. Since few states and localities in the United States have successfully implemented restrictions on advertising at points of sale, their impact in the United States is not well understood. But they are expected to reverse some of the effects of advertising, such as reducing youth acceptance, reducing tobacco-related disparities and changing the rules on tobacco use.

Jurisdictions that wish to limit cigarette advertising should avoid imposing a “ban or restriction” on the content of the advertising or promotion, for reasons of smoking or health. The Public Health Law Center suggests several strategies for restricting tobacco advertising at points of sale: removing Power Wall tobacco advertising screens from paylines; prohibiting any product whose labeling or advertising contains descriptors such as “light”, “low” or “soft”; allowing only one package of each product to be displayed; prohibiting self-service exhibitions; and conducting evaluations at retail stores. Research literature supports that one of the objectives and effects of tobacco advertising is to recruit minors to smoke, so restrictions should focus on reducing youth exposure. If these point-of-sale interventions are successful, they are likely to result in a significant reduction in the initiation of young people to the use of tobacco products and in the prevalence of tobacco use among young people.

The current First Amendment test requires an increasingly substantial demonstration of efficacy testing to justify restricting truthful and non-misleading advertising of legal products, including dangerous but legal products such as tobacco.

Clifton Dupriest
Clifton Dupriest

Award-winning coffee aficionado. Typical travel guru. Incurable coffee junkie. Proud music advocate. General pop culture guru.

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