FDA unveils nine graphic cigarette labels

Consumer Reports News: June 21, 2011 11:33 AM

Still not convinced you need to quit smoking? Maybe the nine graphic cigarette warnings, unveiled today by the Food and Drug Administration, will make you reconsider. Starting September 2012, the warnings will appear on every pack of cigarettes sold in the U.S. and in every cigarette advertisement. The new labels mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years.

The warnings include messages such as “Warning: Cigarettes are addictive,” accompanied by an up-close image of a man smoking through a gaping hole in his throat, and “Warning: Smoking during your pregnancy can harm your baby,” with an image of an infant struggling to survive in the hospital just days after birth. “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 in a press release. “President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation’s past, and not our future.”

Smoking is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the U.S., responsible for 443,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while the number of smokers in the U.S. has dropped over the past 30 years, the CDC says the rates have remained more or less steady in the last 5 years. Maybe it’s not enough to just remind people about all the health risks associated with smoking, even though that evidence keeps getting stronger.

Bottom line: There are dozens of reasons to quit smoking. Quit because you don’t like smelling like an ashtray. Because it causes wrinkles. Because cigarettes are too expensive. Or because smoking puts the people around you at risk, including your children and pets. Or quit simply because you’d like to live a longer, healthier life. Consider these practical ways to help you get started.

Watch today’s cigarette health warning announcement live from the White House at 12:30 pm EST. For more free support and resources in your area, take a look at the American Cancer Society’s website and smokefree.gov, or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Sources

Cigarette Health Warnings [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]

FDA unveils final cigarette warning labels [U.S. Department of Health & Human Services]

Ginger Skinner


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