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Warnings on Cigarettes To Turn Graphic
 
  by: iradiotom - Philadelphia, PA
started: 06/21/11 5:28 pm | updated: 06/22/11 1:42 am
 
Nine new warning labels featuring graphic images that convey the dangers of smoking will be required by the Food and Drug Administration to be on U.S. cigarette packs by 2012. The new warnings will occupy the top half the space on both sides of the pack. The warnings feature pictures of rotting teeth, diseased lungs and a corpse of a smoker. One image is a man with a tracheotomy blowing smoke from the hole in his throat. The photos will be accompanied by messages such as "Smoking can kill you" and "Cigarettes cause cancer." Each warning will include a national quit smoking hotline number. For anyone who still hasn't figured out that smoking is bad for you, this should do it.
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The labels, which the FDA released yesterday, are a part of the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years. They're aimed at curbing tobacco use, which is responsible for about 443,000 deaths in the U.S. a year.

Warning labels also must appear in advertisements and constitute 20 percent of an ad. Cigarette makers have until the fall of 2012 to comply.

"These kind of graphic warning labels strengthen the understanding of people about the health risks of smoking," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We clearly have to renew a national conversation around these issues and enhance awareness."

Mandates to introduce new graphic warning labels were part of a law passed in 2009 that, for the first time, gave the federal government authority to regulate tobacco, including setting guidelines for marketing and labeling, banning certain products and limiting nicotine. The announcement follows reviews of scientific literature, public comments and results from an FDA-contracted study of 36 labels proposed last November.

The legality of the new labels also is part of a pending federal lawsuit filed by Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc., parent company of America's second-largest cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds; No. 3 cigarette maker, Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard Inc.; and others.

Tobacco makers in the lawsuit have argued the warnings would relegate the companies' brands to the bottom half of the cigarette packaging, making them "difficult, if not impossible, to see."

A spokesman for Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group Inc., parent company of the nation's largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, said the company was looking at the final labels but would not comment further.

In recent years, more than 30 countries or jurisdictions have introduced labels similar to those being introduced by the FDA. The U.S. first mandated the use of warning labels stating "Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health" in 1965. Current warning labels - a small box with black and white text - were put on cigarette packs in the mid-1980s.

The FDA says the new labels will "clearly and effectively convey the health risks of smoking" aimed at encouraging current smokers to quit and discouraging nonsmokers and youth from starting to use cigarettes.

"These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

American Cancer Society CEO John R. Seffrin applauded the new labels in a statement, saying they have the potential to "encourage adults to give up their deadly addiction to cigarettes and deter children from starting in the first place."

 
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 by: iradiophilly - Philadelphia, PA | responded: 06/22 1:42 am
 

 

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