FDA tightens regulations on marketing tobacco to kids

The Food and Drug Administration this week issued a final rule that aims to decrease childhood use of tobacco products. The rule, which goes into effect June 22, focuses both on sales and marketing of tobacco products.

The distribution of free samples of tobacco products and sale of cigarette packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes will be prohibited under the new regulations. Vending machines selling tobacco products will be permitted only in limited situations.

In addition, the rule prohibits tobacco brand sponsorship of athletic teams or cultural events, as well as distribution of free gifts, such as hats or T-shirts with tobacco brand logos. Audio advertisements for tobacco products are not allowed to use music or sound effects.

"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 A. Hamburg. "Putting these restrictions in place is necessary to protect the health of those we care most about: our children."

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