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Open Access Examination of Voluntary Compliance with New FDA Cigar Warning Label Requirements

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND licence.

Objectives: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued new requirements to strengthen and increase the size of cigar warnings. Although these requirements were challenged in court by the cigar industry, and later struck down, cigar manufacturers had the option of voluntarily complying during the injunction. In this study, we examined voluntary warning compliance on a sample of discarded cigar wrappers. Methods: Warnings were examined on a sample of 1352 discarded cigar wrappers and packs obtained from 15 census tracts in Oakland, California in February 2019. Warnings were coded for new requirement compliance (ie, sized at 30% or more on front and back of pack). Results: Overall, 67.3% of wrappers displayed compliant warnings – other wrappers had smaller warnings only on the front (30.6%), only on the back (1.5%) or no warning (0.4%). Cigar warning placement was significantly associated with brand (p < .01), cigar type (p < .01), and unit size (p < .01). The prevalence of warning compliance was at least 90% for 6 brands but ranged from 0% to 65% for others. Compliance was lowest for cigarillos (62.1%) and packs of 3 (27.6%). Conclusions: Strengthening cigar warnings can help increase their effectiveness, but cigar manufacturers may not voluntarily implement changes fully. Continued surveillance and renewed regulatory efforts are warranted.

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Keywords: cigarillos; cigars; tobacco policy; warning labels

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Associate Professor, Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States. 2: Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology and Social Work, Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT, United States. 3: Professor, Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, United States.

Publication date: November 2020

More about this publication?
  • Tobacco Regulatory Science (Electronic ISSN 2333-9748) is a rigorously peer-reviewed online scientific journal for the dissemination of research relevant to the regulation of tobacco products. The journal content includes a broad array of research domains, including chemistry, biology, behavior, community, and population-level surveillance and epidemiology, as well as knowledge syntheses (eg, meta-analyses or state-of-the-art reviews) and analytic modeling. All articles describe the policy relevance of the research outcomes. Given the global nature of tobacco regulation, particularly as a result of international and national policies, Tobacco Regulatory Science publishes high quality research that is relevant to global regulatory needs and requirements. Tobacco Regulatory Science is published electronically 6 times per year.
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