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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tobacco Products

Letter to Tobacco Control Groups on Cigarettes Containing Certain Characterizing Flavors


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September 22, 2009

Dear Colleagues:

Effective today, cigarettes and their components, such as filters and papers, that contain certain characterizing flavors, are considered adulterated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This means that it is now illegal to manufacture, distribute, sell or import into the United States cigarettes that contain characterizing flavors such as herb, spice, or fruit flavors, including cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate, clove, strawberry, grape or cherry.

This new law presents many opportunities for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collaborate with the public health community to address the critical public health issue of tobacco use. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. An important way to reduce the death and disease caused by smoking is to prevent children and adolescents from starting to smoke. Scientists have found that kids think flavored tobacco products are safer and less addictive than regular tobacco products. The fact is that flavored cigarettes are just as addictive and have the same types of harmful effects as regular cigarettes. The removal from the market of these products is an important step in FDA’s efforts to reduce the burden of illness and death caused by tobacco products.

We are asking you to share information about possible violations of this provision of the new law. If you observe a violation, please report it to FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products:

  • By phone at 1-877-CTP-1373 Online at www.fda.gov/flavoredtobacco
  • By mail addressed to: Center for Tobacco Products
    9200 Corporate Boulevard
    Rockville, Maryland 20850-3229

Additional information about this provision of the new law and FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products may be found online at www.fda.gov/tobaccoproducts.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.


Lawrence R. Deyton, M.S.P.H., M.D.