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The Federal Trade Commission today announced that it is beginning a review of its smokeless tobacco trade regulation rule. The regulations implement the health warning requirements of the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986. The review is part of the Commission's on-going review of all of its rules and regulations. The Commission will publish shortly a Federal Register notice seeking comments on the overall costs and benefits of the regulations. In addition, the Commission is also seeking comment on several specific issues regarding implementation of the Smokeless Tobacco Act. Comments will be accepted for 45 days, until April 24, 2000.


Congress enacted the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986 to educate the public about the adverse health effects of smokeless tobacco use. Among other things, the Act requires that all labeling and advertising (except billboard advertising) for smokeless tobacco products display one of three rotational warnings: WARNING: THIS PRODUCT MAY CAUSE MOUTH CANCER; WARNING: THIS PRODUCT MAY CAUSE GUM DISEASE AND TOOTH LOSS; WARNING: THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO CIGARETTES. The Act directs the Commission to issue regulations implementing the format and display of the warnings on packaging and in advertising. The Commission's smokeless tobacco regulations, issued on November 4, 1986, set out provisions for the size, color, typeface and rotation of the statutory health warnings.


In addition to soliciting comments directed at the standard regulatory review questions regarding the economic impact of the smokeless tobacco regulations; any possible conflict between the rule and state, local or federal laws; and the effect that any technological, economic or other industry changes have had on the rule, the Commission also is seeking comments on the adequacy of the regulations in implementing the format and display provisions of the Smokeless Tobacco Act.

Specifically, the Commission is seeking comments on:

  • whether the existing regulations are effective in meeting the Smokeless Tobacco Act's format and display requirements;
  • whether the regulations are sufficiently enforceable; and
  • whether the Commission should revise the format and display provisions for can rolls and individual packages that can also be used as retail displays.

Comments must be received on or before April 24, 2000. Written comments should be identified as "16 CFR Part 307" and sent to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, Room H-159, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The Commission also will accept comments submitted to the following E-mail address: ""


The Commission vote to publish the Smokeless Tobacco Act review notice in the Federal Register was 5-0.


Copies of the news release, the Federal Register Notice and other documents associated with the smokeless tobacco regulations are available from the FTC's web site at and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.

(FTC Matter No. P994503)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Brenda Mack
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Rosemary Rosso
Bureau of Consumer Protection