Altria, Philip Morris USA, ITG Brands and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company sent notices to their retail partners regarding an update on a Department of Justice (DOJ) requirement to supply court-ordered signs to stores that have contracts with the companies, reports NACS.
A settlement agreement between the DOJ and Altria, Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and four cigarette brands owned by ITG Brands was formally approved by a D.C. court in December, resolving litigation over communications of tobacco-related messaging at retail locations.
The court order requires retail outlets that have contracts with any of these companies to post signs carrying one of 17 different preapproved health messages, distributed at random, for a total of 24 months. Each store will be required to rotate to a new message halfway through the time period. The manufacturers will be required to hire auditors to check that the signs are posted correctly.
The notices sent by the companies include amendments to each of the company’s retail merchandising agreements, required by the consent order; additional details around placement of corrective-statement signs at retail; and a summary of implementation activities during the initial posting period.
The court order takes effect July 1, 2023, and tobacco firms have three months to post the corrective statements in both English and Spanish in stores.