Gallery: FDA Unveils “Scary” New Anti-Smoking Packaging for Cigarettes


campaign, hoping that in-your-face reminders of smoking’s dangers will make people quit.

The images will cover half of a package of cigarettes and a fifth of any advertisement for them. The new labels are required under a law that was passed in 2009 that gave the FDA the ability to regulate tobacco products for the first time. Officials hope that the new campaign will revitalize the nation’s anti-smoking efforts, which have remained somewhat stagnant for several years.

The stats against smoking are nothing to scoff at. More than 20 percent of American adults and 19 percent of American teenagers smoke. Every year, 443,000 people die from smoking-related health problems, which adds up to more than $96 billion in health care costs. Every day, 1,000 children and teenagers take up smoking regularly and another 4,000 try cigarettes for the first time. To top it off, cigarette butts are made with a plastic that does not break down easily, resulting in a lot of toxins from the butts being dumped into our landfills (in NYC alone, the number tops 10 million butts a day).

In recent years, more than 30 countries have implement new, more upfront labels about the dangers of smoking, but this will be the most significant changing in cigarette packaging in the U.S. since the mid-1980s, when the current warning labels — a small box with black print — were put on the packs. The FDA estimates that the new labels will cause 213,000 people to stop smoking in 2013, with smaller reductions happening through 2030.

Of course, opposition to the new packaging is already in full swing. In fact, the parent company of the nation’s second largest manufacturer of cigarettes sued the FDA, alleging that the labels infringed on free speech and property rights. A federal judge ruled that the graphic labels were legal, but a proposed restriction to eliminate brightly colored packaging does infringe upon free speech. The ruling has been appealed and is pending.

While it is impossible to say how many people quit because of warning labels, various studies have shown that there is some correlation. According to the Associated Press, “The World Health Organization said in a survey done in countries with graphic warning labels that a majority of smokers noticed the warnings and more than 25 percent said the warnings led them to consider quitting.”

“This isn’t about doing what’s pleasant for people. It’s about fulfilling the government’s mandate if they’re going to allow these things to be sold,” said David Hammond, a health behavior researcher at the University of Waterloo in Canada, who worked with the firm designing the labels. “What’s bothering people is the risk associated with their behavior, not the warnings themselves.”

+ FDA Cigarette Health Warnings

Via Associated Press on Yahoo! News


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  1. johncassel June 24, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court struck down a Vermont law that prohibited pharmacies from selling records of doctor’s prescriptions to pharmasudical companies. The supreme court said that the Vermont law was in violation of the pharmacies and pharmasudical companies’ First Amendment right to free speech. This sweeping first amendment decision appears to bring new and broader protections for commercial (corporate) speech to a new level.
    Once again the current, right wing, Supreme Court gives more power to corporations.
    NPR reported after the Supreme Court ruling lawyers for the tobacco industry said they now have fresh ammunition for fighting the FDA’s new requirement for graphic depictions of health risks on cigarette packages.
    The Supreme Court is giving more rights and protections to corporations without making the corporations accountable for their actions.
    It is illegal for you and me to distribute chemicals or products that kill people. Corporations and their managers and owners should be held to the same standard.

  2. johncasseldesign June 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    These photos are specifically targeted at dissuading kids and young people from smoking. Those are the future non-smokers of tomorrow. Cigarette ads have long targeted kids and young people to cultivate a future market. Now that same strategy is being used to wean our population off of this multi-generational killer.
    The people that are already addicted are destined to either cure their addiction or remove themselves from the issue by their own attrition. It is a coldly calculated campaign in that can’t help someone who still reaches for another cigarette over the image of someone dying from that very cigarette.

  3. lazyreader June 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Sooner or later……..Why don’t they just make a cigarettes and label them…”Cancer Sticks” as a actual name brand.

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