PCA Ethical Marketing Policy

At its 2024 Trade Show, the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) will implement an Ethical Marketing Policy. This policy contains code requirements for acceptable age verification and marketing practices. In addition to the guidelines, the PCA has implemented a series of monitoring and enforcement policies as well as a support network.

While PCA has said they have monitored and enforced standard in this area in the past, this step codifies and formalizes the guidelines.

Much of this stems from two positions the PCA has taken over the past two years: Responsible Marketing to Adults and Unauthorized Use of Trademarks and Trade Dress. This is the first trade show where these positions have been codified into rules, and the PCA appears ready to enforce them. The Responsible Marketing piece formalizes a minimum age of 21 for attendees, including those who engage in sales activity. As part of its position, the PCA has called out branding that could be construed as marketing to children.

The Unauthorized Use of  Trademarks and Trade Dress is a position the PCA took last year.

The following are the code requirements, support mechanism, and monitoring/enforcement guidelines  that PCA is implementing with the 2024 PCA Trade Show:

Code Requirements for PCA Trade Show Participants

  1. Trade Show Age of Attendance: All credentialed participants in attendance shall be a minimum of 21 years old and will provide identification upon request.
  2. Employee Training: Participants shall familiarize their staff with the Code’s requirements by providing a copy or electronic link to the Code, which is available on the PCA website.
  3. Website Age Affirmation: Participants using web based marketing for age restricted items shall limit access to wholesale customers or use age affirmation mechanisms to gate access for the general public.
  4. Point-of-Sale Age Verification: Participants practice point-of-sale age verification wherever age restricted products are sold to the general public, including online. Participants train employees on legal requirements for age restricted sales and provide physical signage or an online statement as a reminder that the purchase age for tobacco products is subject to legal restrictions.
  5. Trade Show Adult Audience: Products, marketing materials and media production at the PCA Trade Show primarily appeals to adult audiences of legal purchase age for tobacco. Products, including non-tobacco items, shall not contain color schemes, fonts or artwork that may be misperceived as having specific appeal to underage consumers. Apparel that is branded or features tobacco art is only available in adult sizes. Marketing materials and media should only feature adults of legal purchase age.
  6. Trade Dress: Products and marketing materials at the tradeshow shall not feature words, phrases, symbols or designs intended to simulate products, packaging, or known trademarks for which the exhibitor is not licensed.


  1. Confidential Guidance on Code Compliance. On a voluntary, nonbinding, and confidential basis, PCA members and associate members can seek guidance by emailing PCACode@premiumcigars.org or calling PCA at (202) 621-8064 and requesting the PCA Code Liaison.

Monitoring and Enforcement

  1. Responsibility of Participants: Participants should encourage compliance with the Code through private peer-to-peer dialogue.
  2. Monitoring the Trade Show: PCA staff will actively monitor trade show activity and reach out to participants to confidentially discuss suspected infractions of the Code and, if necessary, suggest a remedial course of action.
  3. Enforcement of the Code: Participants found in violation of the Code that are unwilling to adhere to PCA’s suggested remedy may have their privileges and benefits of PCA membership revoked without refund of dues, fees or donations. This may include, but is not limited to, loss of Trade Show credentials and/or removal of products, marketing materials or signage.