Consumer Protection Branch


The Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1341, prohibits cigarette advertising on any medium of electronic communication subject to the jurisdiction of the FCC. 15 U.S.C. § 1335. It also requires conspicuous "Surgeon General's Warnings" to be placed on all packages of cigarettes and on all cigarette advertisements and billboards. 15 U.S.C. § 1333. The Act provides for both criminal penalties, 15 U.S.C. § 1338, and injunctive relief, 15 U.S.C. § 1339.

CPB enforces the Act, and obtained consent decrees that forced the removal of tobacco-related signs from various sports facilities. One decree required Madison Square Garden to remove a prominent Marlboro sign from its strategic courtside location (across the face of the scorers' table) at televised New York Knicks' games. United States v. Madison Square Garden, L.P., No. 95-2228 (S.D.N.Y. filed April 4, 1995). Another decree required Philip Morris Incorporated to remove comparably prominent Marlboro billboards from professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey stadiums and arenas around the country. United States v. Phillip Morris, Inc., No. 95-1077 (D.D.C. filed June 6, 1995). In addition, CPB occasionally provides informal, non-binding advice to advertisers and event promoters who seek to conform their conduct to the requirements of the Act.

To ensure that the Department responds consistently to requests for guidance and to violations of the Act, nationwide investigation and enforcement responsibility have been vested in CPB. CPB may forward investigative results and cases to appropriate United States Attorneys' Offices.


Updated October 20, 2014

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