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FTC Consumer Alert

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Cigars: No Such Thing As a Safe Smoke

For the first time, cigar packages and ads will soon warn smokers about the serious health risks of cigar smoking. Whether you buy Coronas or Churchills, Panatelas, Robustos, Lonsdales, or any other kind of cigar, be on the lookout for five new federally mandated health warnings. The messages may sound familiar: Cigarette companies have been required to give similar health warnings since the mid-1960's and smokeless tobacco manufacturers since the mid-1980's.

The warnings follow a report by the National Cancer Institute detailing the health risks of cigar smoking. Specifically, cigar smoking can cause cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx and lungs. For smokers who inhale, the health risks increase dramatically. Cigar smoking also can cause heart disease and emphysema.

The warnings, which cigar companies are required to rotate, include:

SURGEON GENERAL WARNING: Cigar Smoking Can Cause Cancers Of The Mouth And Throat, Even If You Do Not Inhale.
SURGEON GENERAL WARNING:  Cigar Smoking Can Cause Lung Cancer And Heart Disease.
SURGEON GENERAL WARNING:  Tobacco Use Increases The Risk Of Infertility, Stillbirth And Low Birth Weight.
SURGEON GENERAL WARNING:  Cigars Are Not A Safe Alternative To Cigarettes.
SURGEON GENERAL WARNING:  Tobacco Smoke Increases The Risk Of Lung Cancer And Heart Disease, Even In Nonsmokers.

Cigar companies will be required to display these warnings clearly and prominently on packages, in print ads, on audio and video ads, on the Internet, and on point-of-purchase displays. The point, say federal consumer protection and health officials, is to make sure that companies disclose the health risks of cigar smoking and that consumers understand that there's no such thing as a safe smoke.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

June 2000
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