Regulatory guidelines Northerner USA June 2020

Northerner USA

Northerner USA Scandinavia, Inc (“Northerner USA”) operates e-commerce sites in the US for the sale of tobacco products (snus, snuff, chewing tobacco), tobacco-free nicotine products (nicotine pouches) and nicotine-free products. 

This document will be updated over time by Northerner USA to guide our service providers/content creators/collaborators regarding best marketing practise and regulatory no-goes in the US.

  1. HEALTH warning statementS

1.1Tobacco products with nicotine (snus, snuff, chewing tobacco)

There are some different rules for warning statements for tobacco in different states, however, at least the following shall be adhered to. 

A warning statement shall be placed on all graphical advertisement (hence not on adwords), one of the following examples shall be used:

Examples:Specific rules on the format of the warning statement:
  • WARNING: This product can cause mouth cancer.
  • WARNING: This product can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
  • WARNING: This product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.
  • WARNING: Smokeless tobacco is addictive.
  • Must cover the top 20% of advertisement, in terms of size.
  • Must be in at least 12-point (Helvetica and Arial) bold font.
  • Must be in black text on white background, or vice versa.
  • The text must occupy the greatest possible portion of the warning area, be centered within the warning area, and be oriented in the same manner as other text on the two principal display panels.
  • Must be capitalized and punctuated as indicated

Many states also demand that all marketing of tobacco products (including websites) present a prohibition against the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age 21. An example of such a text:

THE SALE OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS TO PERSONS UNDER AGE 21 IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED BY STATE LAW. IF YOU ARE UNDER 21, YOU COULD BE PENALIZED FOR PURCHASING A TOBACCO PRODUCT.”

1.2 Tobacco-free nicotine products (nicotine pouches)

A warning statement shall be placed on all graphical advertisement (hence not on adwords).

The mandatory warning statement:- Northerner USA

WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical.

An example:

Please also see this link for how our competitors have applied the warning text in graphics;

https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/?active_status=all&ad_type=all&country=US&impression_search_field=has_impressions_lifetime&view_all_page_id=380406295630977

Specific rules on the format of the warning statement:

  • Must cover the top 20% of advertisement, in terms of size. 
  • Must be in at least 12-point (Helvetica and Arial) bold font. 
  • Must be in black text on white background, or vice versa. 
  • The text must occupy the greatest possible portion of the warning area, be centered within the warning area, and be oriented in the same manner as other text on the two principal display panels.
  • Must be capitalized and punctuated as indicated                                                                           2. content guidelines                                                                                                               The following guidelines apply both to tobacco products and tobacco-free nicotine products.
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2.1 Transparency

Be transparent when marketing the products. It needs to be clear to the recipient that it is marketing (if it is not obvious that it is marketing). For example, when employing influencers on social media, it needs to be stated that it is a paid collaboration. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that one of the following hashtags are used: #ad, #sponsored or #promotion.

2.2 Targeting youth

It is strictly prohibited to target youth in our advertisement. The audience needs to be adults 21 and over. As a guiding principle when we can aim for exact age with regards to audiences (for example when buying Facebook services), we suggest 23 years of age as a minimum. Do not use symbols or references to what could be interpreted as something aimed for consumers under 21 (candy, activities primarily associated with youth etc.).

2.3 Sampling/ “free” discounts

As a general rule, retailers must charge consumers money for tobacco products and may not, for example, distribute tobacco products in exchange for providing contact information or signing up for a mailing list. Do not use expressions “free” or “sample”.  Discounts in dollars or percentages is ok.

Promotions such as “buy one get one free at the time of purchase” or “two for the price of one” are ok because they represent a 50% discount off of the sales price of two tobacco products and the “free” tobacco product is received as part of a tobacco product sales transaction. 

Promotions such as “buy one pack of cigarettes and get a coupon redeemable for a free pack of cigarettes” are prohibited unless the retailer can verify that the person using the coupon is the same person that has been subject to a tobacco product sales transaction subject to minimum age and ID requirements. 

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Membership and rewards programs that provide discounts to tobacco product purchasers are ok as long as they do not result in distribution of tobacco products outside of a tobacco product sales transaction subject to minimum age and ID requirements.

Contests and games of chance are generally not prohibited under the free sample ban; however, similar to other promotions, the contest prize may not be a tobacco product unless it is distributed as part of a tobacco product sales transaction. 

2.4 Health claims 

We must not to refer to any health benefits/claims in relation to the use of tobacco or nicotine. For example, no references shall be made to studies that show that nicotine may cure diseases (such as Parkinson’s disease), that x amount of nicotine/tobacco can be consumed without any health consequences (overdoses etc.) or that you can’t get disease x or y from the products (such as cancer). 

Forbidden messaging includes:

  • Smoking cessation, such as a reference to the product being “an alternative to cigarettes or chewing tobacco”
  • Anything claiming a product to be less harmful or other health benefit
  • Calling the product a food or pharma product or implying that it is
  • Any reference to the product being “natural”, “organic” or “clean” or similar expressions. 
  • Any reference to a product being “light”, “mild” “low” (in relation to strength of nicotine/tobacco) and similar expressions. 

2.5 References to other tobacco/non-tobacco products

We must not make any references to other tobacco/non-tobacco products when marketing another. For example, making references to smoking when promoting snus, or to snus when promoting tobacco-free nicotine products.

Any references or connections to vape products/vaping are strictly prohibited. 

3. Excluded states for marketing/sales

In some states there are prohibitions on marketing and online sales of tobacco products and tobacco free nicotine products. Before the start of a marketing campaign or activity that is specifically directed to a certain state in the US, Northerners legal team must be consulted. 

 

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