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HHS Plans Gruesome Images on Cigarette Packs to Warn of Health Risks

4 years ago
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The Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled its plan for placing new warnings on cigarette packs -- and it sure isn't pretty. Included are graphic images of dead bodies, cancer patients and diseased lungs, all intended to depict the health risks of smoking.

The strong images are part of a requirement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. In a statement, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted that each day nearly 4,000 youths try a cigarette for the first time and 1,000 become regular smokers. Tobacco causes 443,000 deaths each year and one-third of all cancer deaths.

The images, which will cover half of the cigarette pack, will be accompanied by such warnings as "Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease" (shown with the picture of the feet of a dead body in a morgue) and "Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers" (a photo of a highly distraught woman).

The HHS called the new warnings "the most significant change in more than 25 years" in cigarette packaging and advertising.

The Food and Drug Administration will gather public comment on 36 proposed images until Jan. 9, 2011, then select nine final warning statements and images by June 22, 2011. The regulation will go into effect Sept. 22, 2012.

"Today, FDA takes a crucial step toward reducing the tremendous toll of illness and death caused by tobacco use by proposing to dramatically change how cigarette packages and advertising look in this country," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement. "When the rule takes effect, the health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes."

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10 Comments

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Michael

Is this the sort of value we get from $150k/year plus Federal Nannies? I have a great suggestion for where to start cutting the budget...

November 10 2010 at 7:05 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rann948

How about a gruesome handout for all bar customers - a head-shot of a fatal DIU accident or a diseased liver. What are they going to put on POT ? I presume this is all aimed at kids. LOL They will think it is so cool. They'll probably start collecting the images.

November 10 2010 at 6:22 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pippawebster

These sort of warnings have been on display in the UK for years, it hasn't stopped smoking at all, people know the warnings, but if they do not want to stop they won't. Poeple today get into drugs, but again they know the warnings, but do they heed them?? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 10 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
catalogsplus

I wish they would stop wasting money on silly ideas. An image on a pack of cigs is more likely to generate ridicule than fear. The money would be far more well spent in grade school education where those images are more likely to deter potential smokers.

November 10 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
trb2244

Goodie: now we smokers can collect and trade gruesome packages for fun and profit!

November 10 2010 at 3:20 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to trb2244's comment
grrywalk

Unintended consequences will make the packs popular.

November 10 2010 at 7:42 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
brudog101

It's, but another example, of government over reaching. The info about smoking and its related maladies has been out for years. I doubt that anyone hasn't, at some point in their life, heard the horror stories. But if after hearing them they choose to pick up the habit, it's their choice. It's called personal freedoms and making an informed decision.

November 10 2010 at 2:45 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
wrybelief

While in theory this looks positive. The application of shock imagery makes the assuption that people are stupid, and that they need the government to hold their hands when they make choices for themselves, including what they eat. Alchohol can kill fairly quickly, maybe they should put pictures of diseased livers on bottles of vodka, missing toes on candy bars, rotted teeth on cans of soda, etc ... ad infinitum.

November 10 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Tim Allison

One can only hope that HHS will require similar graffic images on all acholic beverage containers.

November 10 2010 at 11:41 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tim Allison's comment
catalogsplus

And McDonald's wrappers. lol

November 10 2010 at 11:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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