Warning labels for cigars

Cigars will now join other tobacco products in bearing a label warning of their health risks on packaging and in advertising.

The largest U.S. cigar makers agreed to the uniform national warning label to avoid complying with state labeling requirements now popping up. The Federal Trade Commission said it had the power to require the warning labels because failure to disclose health risks constitutes a deceptive and unfair business practice.

The new warning will be on the front rather than the side of the package or inside and outside cigar boxes. The black-on-white print will be bolder than that found on cigarette packages. Five warning messages will be rotated. For the first time, one of the messages warns that tobacco smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and heart disease, even in nonsmokers.

The FTC had asked Congress to enact legislation putting the same restrictions on advertising and labeling of cigars as for cigarettes, but Congress told the FTC to develop the uniform warning labels. The Commission is still hoping Congress will ban broadcast ads. It also said it would now turn its attention to pipe tobacco.

More in Coding, printing & labeling