Cigarette makers will be required to place graphic warnings on their packaging by next summer, July of 2022, indicates the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

WASHINGTON — Based on news media reports, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered tobacco manufacturers to print graphic warning labels on their cigarette product packaging by July 13, 2022. This is at least the fourth delay on the FDA’s graphic warning label when counting previously set requirement dates of June 18, 2021; October 16, 2021; January 14, 2022; and April 14, 2022.

According to The Winston-Salem Journal, a federal district judge in Texas approved the latest change to the launch date delay after RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Philip Morris USA, ITG Brands LLC, and Liggett Group LLC won a ruling granting such a change in the regulation.

In March of 2020, the FDA published its final rule requiring new graphic health warnings for cigarette packaging. The final rule requires that packaging requires graphics that feature commonly known health risks for excessive smoking and lesser-known health risks such as diabetes. The graphic warnings must cover the top 50 percent of the front and rear panels of the cigarette packages and at least 20 percent at the top of the print and digital advertisements published by the cigarette companies.

Manufacturers, however, filed a brief in federal court arguing that the FDA’s deadlines and mandates for this set of regulations are “onerous,” due to the financial and logistical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. The companies said in a legal filing that “these expenditures of resources for the purpose of meeting the rule’s requirements constitute irreparable harm because plaintiffs cannot recover money damages should the rule and/or the graphic-warning requirement in the Tobacco Control Act be invalidated.”

The tobacco manufacturers also claim that they would experience degrees of “irreparable harm because none of them will be compensable by money damages should the rule and/or graphic warnings requirement in the Tobacco Control Act be invalidated.”
The judge, thus, ruled in favor of the petition from the companies pushing back the graphic warning mandate once again.
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Michael McGrady is a columnist for Vaping Post's English edition. He is a critically acclaimed journalist with awards and recognition from across the industry. He was a finalist for ECigClick's annual vape awards in 2019 and 2020, a KAC Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Fellow in 2019, among other honours. He is also the host of Vaping Weekly, the Post's podcast. All articles express his own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the Editor's view.