Tobacco Control Issues

Protecting Kids From Tobacco

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Scientists have proven the link between the advertising and promotion of tobacco products and the use of these products by teens. To protect youth from becoming addicted to tobacco products and suffering the deadly effects of tobacco, the FDA Center for Tobacco Products issued a rule limiting the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Every day in the United States, more than 3,800 youth smoke their first cigarette, and an estimated 1,000 youth become daily smokers. Many of these youth will become addicted before they are old enough to understand the risks and may die too young of tobacco-related diseases. This is an avoidable personal tragedy for these youth and their families. It is also a preventable public health disaster for our country.  The rule, authorized by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, bans the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to kids under age 18. The rule became effective on June 22, 2010. Just like the rule that bans certain flavored cigarettes, these legal requirements help prevent our kids from becoming the next generation of Americans to die early from tobacco-related diseases.

Federal Requirements: Sale and Distribution
  • 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, cigarette tobacco, 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 limits distribution of free sample smokeless tobacco products.


Federal Requirements: Marketing (Labeling, Advertising, and Promotion)
  • Prohibits tobacco brand name sponsorship of any athletic, musical, or other social or cultural event, or any team or entry in those events.


How You Can Help

You can be part of protecting the next generation from tobacco-related diseases. Please discuss with your children, grandchildren, and other members of your family and community the importance of reducing the access to and attractiveness of tobacco products to our kids. Please help retailers in your community understand and comply with the law. If you see any stores not following the rule, please contact FDA by calling 1-877-287-1373 to report a violation.

Content provided and maintained by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).