FDA Proposes New, Graphic Warnings For Cigarettes : The Two-Way The new warning labels show the dangers of smoking in graphic detail. They could be required by 2012.
NPR logo FDA Proposes New, Graphic Warnings For Cigarettes

FDA Proposes New, Graphic Warnings For Cigarettes

By Oct. 2012, cigarette packets could look drastically different. The Food and Drug Administration, today, unveiled 36 proposals for the kind of warning labels it would like to see on cigarette packets.

One of the FDA's proposed warning labels.  FDA hide caption

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One of them depicts a man smoking through a tracheostomy tube in his throat. Another, with the warning "Smoking can kill you," shows a cadaver with a gruesome surgical scar across its chest. All of them cover about half the box.

This comes in response to a law passed last year, which gave the FDA power to regulate tobacco products.

The U.S. was the first country to require health warnings on cigarettes but the rest of world started requiring more graphic warnings -- like these -- a while ago.

The New York Times reports the FDA hopes something this jarring could help jumpstart stalled anti-smoking efforts:

About 20.6 percent of the nation’s adults, or 46.6 million people, and about 19.5 percent of high school students, or 3.4 million teenagers, are smokers. Every day, roughly 1,000 teenagers and children become regular smokers, and 4,000 try smoking for the first time. About 400,000 people die every year from smoking-related health problems, and the cost to treat such problems exceeds $96 billion a year.

“When the rule takes effect, the health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes,” said Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA is seeking public comment on the new rules through January 9th. The Tobacco Control Act requires the FDA to issue final regulations by June 22, 2011.