New Warnings Show How Serious the US Government is About Stopping Cigarette Smoking

By Patricia L Johnson

Graphic: FDA

Nearly 500,000 lives are lost each year due to deaths caused by tobacco use and smoking is the leading cause of preventable and premature deaths in this country.

Cigarette smoking is dangerous and anyone that has ever smoked understands just how dangerous, but it’s also addictive. I quit smoking 17 years ago and on occasion still crave a cigarette.

On November 12, 2010 the FDA released 36 proposed graphics for public comment and on June 21, 2011 announced the selection of nine new cigarette health warnings.

The decision was made after reviewing more than 1,700 public comments, appraising their scientific literature and evaluating the results on an 18,000 person study – see document number FDA-2-1—N-0568-008.

The actual warnings are as follows and each warning has its own separate graphic. The first one “Cigarettes are addictive” is indicated in the photo and as you can see the colored photo represents a man inhaling a cigarette through a tracheostomy.

· WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.

· WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.

· WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.

· WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.

· WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.

· WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.

· WARNING: Smoking can kill you.

· WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.

· WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

The new cigarette warnings will go into effect on September 22, 2012 and all cigarettes sold or distributed in the United States can no longer be manufactured, or advertised, without the new warnings in place.

Each warning will cover an area representing 50 percent of both the front and rear cigarette package. In addition to the warning the phone number 1-800-QUIT-NOW will appear on all cigarette packages. Consumers wishing to quit smoking may call the number to obtain assistance in quitting.

In addition to the warning on the cigarette package, cigarette advertisements will also carry a warning covering at least 20 percent of the area in the upper portion of the advertisement.

Are you able to come up with a creative way to promote the new cigarette health warnings? Share your idea with the FDA – http://tobaccoideas.fda.gov/forums/83903-cigarette-health-warnings

The new graphic warnings are the first changes to cigarette warnings in 25 years. It’s about time major changes were made to a product that is known to be harmful and in some instances even cause death.

All nine graphics may be viewed at the FDA link http://www.fda.gov/downloads/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/UCM259401.pdf

© 2011 Patricia L Johnson

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