FDA releases new graphic cigarette warning labels - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

FDA releases new graphic cigarette warning labels

Cigarette smoking is about to get even less attractive. The Food and Drug Administration released nine new and very graphic warning labels Tuesday.

It is the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years. Among the images released Tuesday are rotting and diseased teeth and gums and a man with a tracheotomy smoking. The labels will take up the top half of a pack of cigarette packs.

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

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 new graphic cigarette warnings will be required on all cigarette packaging and ads in the U.S. beginning in 2012.

Click here to view the new warnings.

A news release from the FDA stated,

"President Obama is committed to protecting our nation's children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help encourage smokers to quit, and prevent children from smoking," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation's past, and not our future." 
 
Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States, responsible for 443,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and costs our economy nearly $200 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity.
 
These warnings, which were proposed in November 2010, were required under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act which was passed with broad bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by president Obama on June 22, 2009. 
 
The FDA selected nine images from the originally proposed 36 after reviewing the relevant scientific literature, analyzing the results from an 18,000 person study and considering more than 1,700 comments from a variety of groups, including the tobacco industry, retailers, health professionals, public health and other advocacy groups, academics, state and local public health agencies, medical organizations and individual consumers. 
 
Each warning is accompanied by a smoking cessation phone number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which will allow it to be seen at the time it is most relevant to smokers, increasing the likelihood that smokers who want to quit will be successful.
 
When implemented in September 2012, all cigarettes manufactured for sale or distribution in the United States will need to include the new graphic health warnings on their packages. The introduction of these warnings is expected to have a significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers, resulting in lives saved, increased life expectancy, and improved health status.
 
"The Tobacco Control Act requires FDA to provide current and potential smokers with clear and truthful information about the risks of smoking – these warnings do that," said Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
 
The FDA action is part of a broad Obama Administration strategy previously announced by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. "Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan" outlines specific, evidence-based actions that will help create a society free of tobacco-related death and disease.
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