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U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Pipe Tobacco

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Pipe tobacco is generally loose leaf tobacco burned in a traditional smoking pipe with a bowl. Pipe tobacco is a combustible tobacco product.

Nationwide, 1.4 percent (an estimated 190,000) of high school students currently smoke pipes. 1

FDA Regulation of Pipe Tobacco

In 2016, FDA finalized a rule extending our regulatory authority to cover all tobacco products, including pipe tobacco. FDA regulates the manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of pipe tobacco. This includes components and parts such as pipes, but excludes accessories such as lighters.

Pipe Tobacco

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“Components” or “parts” include, among other things, software or an assembly of materials intended or reasonably expected to alter or affect the tobacco product’s performance, composition, constituents, or characteristics; or to be used with or for the human consumption of a tobacco product. Accessories of deemed tobacco products are not regulated. For a full definition of components, parts, and accessories, please read Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

Manufacturing Pipe Tobacco

If you make, modify, mix, manufacture, fabricate, assemble, process, label, repack, relabel, or import pipe tobacco, you must comply with the 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 FDA regulations and policies.

Warning Statement Requirements

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia recently issued an order vacating the health warning requirements for cigars and pipe tobacco set forth in 21 CFR §§ 1143.3 and 1143.5 and remanding the Final Deeming Rule’s warning requirements for cigars and pipe tobacco back to the Agency. See Order, Cigar Ass’n of Am. v. U.S. Food & Drug Admin., No. 1:16-cv-01460 (D.D.C. September 11, 2020). Although the requirement has been vacated, cigar and pipe tobacco firms may choose to voluntarily comply with these health warning provisions. FDA will continue to enforce the other requirements it was already enforcing for cigars and pipe tobacco under the FD&C Act and its implementing regulations, such as not selling these products to individuals under 21 years of age or marketing them as modified risk tobacco products without an FDA order.

All “covered” tobacco products, including pipe tobacco, must bear required warning statements and additional required statements on product packages and advertisements. For more information, see:

Retail Sales of Pipe Tobacco

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. FDA 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.

You can find a list of retailer responsibilities for pipe tobacco in the final rule Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. In addition, our website offers more information on regulations, guidance, and webinars for retailers.

Importing Pipe Tobacco

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 FDA Regulatory Procedures Manual, Chapter 9, Import Operations and Actions.

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

Reporting Adverse Experiences and Product Violations

If you experience an unexpected health or safety issue with a specific tobacco product, you can report your adverse experience to FDA. Knowledge about adverse experiences can help FDA 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 FDA’s tobacco regulations, report the potential violation.

Additional Resources
  • Small Business Assistance for Tobacco Product Industry
  • Manufacturing
  • Selling Tobacco Products in Retail Stores
References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Tobacco use among middle and high school students – United States, 2011-2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2017; 66(23):597-603.

Find facts and figures about pipe tobacco and an overview of FDA's regulation of pipe tobacco. ]]>