Tobacco Products

Protecting Teens and Children from Tobacco: Restricting Sale and Distribution

In 2010, FDA finalized a historic set of federal requirements as part of the Tobacco Control Act designed to curb access to - and the appeal of - cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products to children and adolescents in the United States.

Announcing the New Requirements

Then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh, and FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg announced the new requirements and explained the science behind them. The rule went into effect June 22, 2010.

What Do the Requirements Do?

The rule, Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco to Protect Children and Adolescents, creates federal requirements restricting the sale, distribution, and promotion of tobacco products to make them less accessible and less attractive to kids. The rules also help strengthen FDA’s ability to enforce the rules.

Requirements Regarding the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco

The rule:

  • Prohibits the sale of cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco to people younger than 18.
  • Prohibits the sale of cigarette packages with fewer than 20 cigarettes.
  • Prohibits the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco in vending machines, self-service displays, or other impersonal modes of sales, except in very limited situations.
  • Prohibits free samples of cigarettes and limit distribution of smokeless tobacco products.

Requirements Regarding the Marketing and Promotion of Tobacco

The rule:

  • Prohibits tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical or other social or cultural event, or any team or entry in those events.
  • Requires that audio ads use only words with no music or sound effects.
  • Prohibits the sale or distribution of items, such as hats and t-shirts, with cigarette and smokeless tobacco brands or logos.

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Page Last Updated: 03/01/2015
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