Federal Laws

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

What is the Act?

On June 22, 2009, the president signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The Act gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco products.

What Does the Act Do?

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Targets illegal sales of tobacco to kids.
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Imposes advertising and promotion restrictions including package labeling, point of sale advertising, and bans sponsorships of sport and entertainment events.
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Bans cigarettes that have a candy or fruit-flavor.
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Restricts vending machine and self-service displays to adult-only-facilities.
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Requires disclosure of tobacco product ingredients and health-effect research conducted by companies.
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Limits the free distribution of tobacco products to specific restricted situations.
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Gives the FDA the authority to require changes in products that would render them less harmful.
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Requires retailers to verify the age of individuals for all over-the-counter sales.
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Prohibits companies from making health claims about “reduced-risk” when the claims are not backed by scientific proof.
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Prohibits using terms like “light,” “mild,” and “low tar” on tobacco packages or advertisements.

The act does not allow the FDA to ban cigarettes or smokeless tobacco or the total elimination of nicotine from products. Nor is the FDA authorized to raise the legal age of use from age 18 to an older age.

Sources:  FDA, 2009, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2009, and the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, July 2009

Additional Information About the Act

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration website offers the latest information and updates about the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.  To access the information go to:

For a complete listing of H.R. 1256/S. 982 go to the FDA website copy of the law   


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