Jun. 26 2000
Washington, DC — Today's announcement of a consent agreement between the Federal Trade Commission and seven major cigar manufacturers marks an historic milepost in the battle against the toll tobacco takes on America's families. The imposition of warning labels by the U.S. Surgeon General on cigar packaging will play a critical role in putting an end to the widespread mistaken belief that cigar smoking is somehow less toxic than cigarette smoking. The labels document the cause and effect relationship between cigar smoking and several types of cancer and make it clear that cigar smoking is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes.
Today's announcement breaks new ground in another important aspect. For the first time on any tobacco packaging in the United States, cigar labels will warn non-smokers of the specific dangers associated with inhaling second-hand smoke. This should serve as a catalyst for a similar warning for cigarettes.
The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS applauds today's action by the FTC as a positive first step in placing cigar smoking on the same dangerous footing as cigarettes. However, there is more work to be done. We are concerned that the consent agreement preempts states from imposing stronger labeling requirements on cigar packages. Preemption on this issue will keep states like Massachusetts from experimenting with the larger labeling currently being used by the Canadian Government which many consider to be more effective than labeling currently being used in the United States. We urge the FTC to work with the states to ensure the most effective possible labeling standards are used.