Retailers Regulatory Compliance Timeline

August 8, 2016
Prohibition on Free Samples

“FDA wishes to clarify that allowing prospective adult buyers to smell or handle a cigar is not considered the distribution of a “free sample” as long as the product is not actually consumed in the retail facility and the prospective buyer does not leave the facility with a free tobacco product (whole or part). . . . However, if the prospective buyer lights and draws or puffs on the cigar to keep the cigar lit, or otherwise uses the free cigar or leaves the retail establishment with a free cigar, this would constitute a “free sample” in violation of” FDA regulation.

August 8, 2016
Minimum Age & ID Requirements

Must not sell to any person younger than 18 years of age;
Must verify by means of photographic identification containing the bearer’s date of birth that the person is 18 or over;
No such verification is required for any person over the age of 26;
Cannot sell cigars with the assistance of any electronic or mechanical device (such as a vending machine), except in facilities where the retailer ensures that no person younger than 18 years of age is present, or permitted to enter, at any time.

NOTE: A tobacco product “accessory” (e.g., humidors, lighters, cutters, ashtrays) is not regulated as a tobacco product. “Components” and “parts” of a tobacco product are deemed subject to regulation (e.g., pipes, flavors, tobacco pouches).

Cannot say or imply in labeling or advertising that a product has a lower risk of disease, is less harmful, or that it contains a reduced level or is free from any substance.

August 8, 2016
Enforcement Action Against Products Determined to be Adulterated or Misbranded

If you fail to take any required action listed here or in future regulations, or if FDA determines that the products are contaminated by an added substance that may cause injury, then FDA can deem the products “adulterated” or “misbranded” under the law. That determination permits FDA to take enforcement action (e.g., Warning Letters, product seizure, injunction, fines).

August 10, 2017
Submission of Cigar Warning Plan to FDA

Retailers who are responsible for or direct their own cigar advertising must submit a “warning plan” to FDA for those advertisements.

October 12, 2017
Manufacturers Required to Register and List Products

According to the final rule, “retail establishments that blend pipe tobacco, are subject to and must comply with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements for tobacco product manufacturers” (see below).

August 10, 2018
Point-of-Sale Warnings

For cigars sold individually and not in a product package, all of the cigar warnings must be placed on a sign a minimum of 8.5 x 11 inches posted on or within 3 inches of each cash register.