FAQ: Can a radio station accept underwriting/advertising for a smoke shop or stores with the word "cigarette" in the name?

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In most cases, you can't, however, in some isolated cases, you can.

No cigarettes or “little cigars”

Cigarette advertising on radio and television was originally banned in 1971 under Section 6 of the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act of 1969.  The Little Cigar Act of 1973 extends the 1969 law by adding a definition of “little cigar” as any roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any substance containing tobacco other than a cigarette. 

No smokeless tobacco products

The Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986 extended the advertising ban to include smokeless tobacco products.

No to “roll your own” tobacco & papers

According to the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, the ban also includes “roll your own” products such as cigarette papers and tobacco.

Big cigars and pipes are OK

The ban does not include regular cigars, stogies, pipes, pipe tobacco and other paraphernalia used by pipe smokers.

Business names with the word “cigarette” in them are NOT OK

WSAB further warns that the use of “cigarette” in the name of a sponsor/underwriter is also prohibited.  Even if advertising/underwriting copy does not include a smoking product, radio stations are unable to take advertising/underwriting from a store with a name like “Joe’s Cigarette and Convenience Store” because the word “cigarette” is in the name.

What about vapes (e-cigarettes)?

Currently, the advertising of e-cigarette/vaping products is legal, however, major television networks have voluntarily refused to accept such advertising.

LPFM program content/station operations/noncommercial nature
Answer Date: 
Saturday, April 27, 2024