New graphic warning labels to impact cigarette industry

The tobacco industries have less than a year to integrate new cigarette-warning labels on all cigarette packs, cartons and ads in order to be complicit with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was signed into law by President Obama back in June 2009. The new U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved labels will need to be included on at least 50 percent of the cigarette packaging by September 2012.

The new labels are graphic in nature and contain explicit health warnings, accompanied by a number to call for those seeking help to stop smoking.

New five graphic labels on cigarette packs

New five graphic labels on cigarette packs

“The Tobacco Control Act requires the 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 true question is whether the ads will do enough to deter people from smoking in the first place and will it help smokers quit.

“It should get me to stop but it doesn’t,” said Melody Laux, a Dyersburg resident who has been smoking since she was 15.

Although the warning labels do not deter Laux, she believes they are a good deterrent for future generations who may think twice about picking up a cigarette if they saw the graphic ads. Not everyone agrees with Laux though. Brandi Hills, a resident of Jackson, who was enjoying a cigarette outside of McDonald’s, spoke to the State Gazette about the silliness of the ads.

“If someone wants to have a cigarette they will and a picture is not going to stop them,” said Hills. “If you want to get people to stop then start early with educating them in the classroom, don’t guilt them into stopping with graphic pictures once they are addicted.”

According to the FDA, the nine ads were selected after months of consideration, which included a study with 18,000 participants and reviewing 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. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States accounting for approximately 443,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

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