The small warning labels you see on cigar boxes warning you of chemicals Known to the State of California might be getting larger.
California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced that it is considering making changes to those warning labels, known as Prop 65, and has solicited feedback from individuals and companies. The warning labels are required for a any products sold in California—not just tobacco products—that include certain chemicals which the state of California has determined are known to cause cancer or birth defects.
As with many other California regulations—such as rules regarding car emissions—because of how valuable of a market California is and the inability of most manufacturers to precisely control the distribution of their products, many companies choose to apply the warnings to all products to avoid the risk of any of their products being sold in California without the warning labels.
The requirements for Prop 65 went into effect in 2018 and included a provision that allowed some products to be sold with a smaller, “short-form” warning statement. Now, OEHHA is suggesting that it believes businesses aren’t following its regulations and use the “short-form” warning statements on products that do not qualify. The agency has proposed changes that would include a prohibition of “short-form” warning labels only if the product label is 5-square-inches or less. Practically, that would mean that every cigar box would no longer qualify for the “short-form” warning that many companies currently use. Furthermore, OEHHA is looking at requiring more disclosures about chemicals on the regular warnings.
In addition to the changes on the packaging itself, cigar companies—and retailers—would likely need to update their websites to include longer disclosures to comply with the new changes by OEHHA.
The agency has set a deadline for comments by March 8 and a request for a public hearing by Feb. 22.