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Published: Friday, 3/19/2010

Feds add rules to severely restrict tobacco marketing


WASHINGTON - The Food and Drug Administration announced rules yesterday that will severely restrict the way the tobacco industry can advertise and sell cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, especially marketing efforts designed to appeal to children and teenagers.

The rules take effect June 22. Congress last year passed a landmark law to regulate the $89 billion tobacco industry.

The law prevents the FDA from banning nicotine or tobacco, but it gives the agency vast new regulatory authority.

Under the new rules, the FDA will:

•Ban tobacco companies from sponsoring sports and entertainment events.

•Ban free cigarette samples and giveaways of nontobacco items with the purchase of tobacco.

•Prohibit the sale of cigarettes in packs of less than 20, eliminating so-called "kiddie packs" that public health experts say make cigarettes more affordable for young people.

•Restrict vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities.

•Prohibit tobacco sales to children younger than 18 and require photo identification checks for over-the-counter sales.

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