US unveils graphic tobacco warning labels

US unveils graphic tobacco warning labels

Health first

Proposed in November under a law that put the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry under the control of the Food and Drug Administration, the new labels must be on cigarette packages and in advertisements starting in October 2012.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg were to announce the nine new warnings at the White House, but the labels were released early Tuesday at http://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/CigaretteWarningLabels/defau....

They show images that may disturb some, including one titled “WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive,” illustrated with a photograph of a man smoking a cigarette through a hole in his throat. Others messages point out the dangers of secondhand smoke to children, tobacco’s causal link to fatal lung disease, cancer, strokes, heart disease and death.

Sebelius said their goal is to stop children from starting to smoke and offer adults who want to quit some help.

“We have about 4,000 people under 18 who try their first cigarette and about 1,000 of them become permanent smokers. And that’s not good for our country,” she told the CBS Early Show.

The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act called for cigarette packages to include warning statements in large type covering half of the front and back of each package and graphic images showing adverse health effects from smoking.

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