FDA Proposes Graphic Images For Warnings On Cigarette Packs
The FDA is proposing some new and very graphic warning labels to be placed on packs of cigarettes. Graphic images of diseased lungs, tracheotomies, and corpses that will take up approximately half of the front and back of all brands are being reviewed by a group of over 18,000 people over the next year. If approved, manufacturers would have a little over a year to begin using the new labels, as well as making 20% of all advertisements a warning.
Though the number of Americans who smoke had fallen dramatically from about 40% to 20% since 1970, it reached a plateau in 2004. About 46 million US citizens still smoke, and tobacco use accounts for over 400,000 deaths each year. This new ad campaign will likely deter people from starting to smoke, but whether or not it will make current smokers quit remains to be seen. Many smokers are well aware of the risks it poses, yet continue the habit.
This whole plan also hinges on decisions in a federal suit by RJ Reynolds and a few other cigarette manufacturers. The tobacco companies have argued that warnings like the ones proposed by the FDA would leave only the bottom half of packaging available for branding and making it difficult, if not impossible to see. So far, opinions of current smokers lean toward the new labels not having much effect. People know the risks involved, and even with warnings everywhere now, still smoke. Many smokers believe that increases in tobacco taxes would be a better deterrent than scare tactics, as most people havent been scared off yet.