Note: In April 2021, announced its plans to propose tobacco product standards within the next year to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and ban all characterizing flavors (including menthol) in cigars. Read more.

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The basic components of most cigarettes are tobacco, chemical additives, a filter, and paper wrapping. Cigarettes are responsible for the vast majority of all tobacco-related disease and death in the United States. Smokers are exposed to a toxic mix of over 7,000 chemicals when they inhale cigarette smoke.1 The harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage nearly every organ in the body.2 Nonsmokers are exposed to many of these same chemicals through secondhand smoke.

Statistics about Cigarette Use

Chemicals in Cigarettes:From Plant to Product to Puff


How a Cigarette Is Engineered 


Order free posters on the health consequences of tobacco use 

* Regulation of Cigarettes regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of cigarettes, including components, parts, and accessories, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and its implementing regulations.

Learn more about federal requirements limiting the sale, distribution, and marketing of cigarettes.

In July 2017, the announced a comprehensive plan for tobacco and nicotine regulation that will serve as a multi-year roadmap to better protect kids and significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death, including pursuing lowering nicotine in cigarettes to a minimally addictive or non-addictive levels. In April 2021, announced that it plans to propose tobacco product standards to ban menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes.

“Heated tobacco products” and “heat-not-burn tobacco products” are colloquial terms that do not appear to have universally agreed upon definitions and seem to be used interchangeably. For’s purposes, if a tobacco product meets the legal definition of a cigarette but the tobacco is not heated to a temperature high enough to cause combustion, the product would be currently categorized as a “non-combusted cigarette” and regulated as a cigarette.


Manufacturing Cigarettes

If you make, modify, mix, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, process, label, repack, relabel, or import cigarettes, you must comply with these requirements for manufacturers.

CTP’s Office of Small Business Assistance can answer specific questions about requirements of small businesses and how to comply with the law. This office also provides online educational resources to help regulated industry understand regulations and policies.


Retail Sales of Cigarettes

If you sell cigarettes, please read this summary of federal rules that retailers must follow. In addition, our website provides more information on regulations, guidance and webinars for retailers.

Note: On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and raise the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years. It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product – including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes – to anyone under 21. will provide additional details on this issue as they become available, and the information on this page will be updated accordingly in a timely manner.

Importing Cigarettes

Tobacco products imported or offered for import into the United States must comply with all the applicable requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). You can find more information on the Importing and Exporting webpage.

You can also learn more about the importation process in the Regulatory Procedures Manual, Chapter 9, Import Operations and Actions.

If you have questions about importing a specific tobacco product, please contact the district into which your product will be imported.

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Reporting Adverse Experiences and Product Violations

If you have experienced an unexpected health or safety issue with a specific tobacco product, you can report your adverse experience to Knowledge about adverse experiences can help identify health or safety issues beyond those normally associated with product use.

If you believe these products are being sold to minors, or you see another potential violation of the FD&C Act or’s tobacco regulations, report the potential violation. 

Additional Resources