More often than not, we see gruesome, graphic photos of the dangers of smoking – rotting teeth, blackened lungs, and warnings of cancer. Beyond seeing these images on posters and billboards, however, these photos will now be appearing closer to home, at least for smokers and would-be smokers: on cigarette packages.
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act called for the inclusion of graphic images on cigarette packages, to warn people about the dangers of smoking, hoping to knock some sense into their tobacco-yearning heads, according to a feature on Reuters.
On Tuesday, health officials, spearheaded by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, are expected to unveil the new graphic labels, which will be mandatory for all cigarette packages by October 2012.
The new labels are to cover half of the front and half of the back of the cigarette packages, each with an image showing health dangers of smoking, as well as a warning statement in large letters.
The new warnings are also supposed occupy the top 20 percent of tobacco advertisements of such tobacco companies as Altria Group Inc’s Philip Morris unit, Reynolds American Inc’s R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Lorillard Inc’s Lorillard Tobacco Co.
R.J. Reynolds, however, has filed a federal lawsuit that challenges the legality of making the graphic images mandatory.
The anti-smoking group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids stated that these new labels are a big change from the health warnings today. The group said: “The current warnings are more than 25 years old, go unnoticed on the side of cigarette packs and fail to effectively communicate the serious health risks of smoking.”