FDA reveals proposed graphic warnings for cigarette packs and ads

Cigarette warning labels could get 'most significant' overhaul in 35 years

While the new rule only applies to traditional combustible cigarettes, and not the e-cigarettes and flavored cigars that are growing more popular with younger populations, advocates believe that the graphic warnings will play an important role in discouraging people from adopting the more risky products.

WARNING: Smoking can cause heart disease and strokes by clogging arteries. These include various cancers, degenerative lung disease, vision problems, and type 2 diabetes.

The administration proposed 13 new warning labels for cigarette packs.

Though WHO notes that the United States has mandated "large warnings" covering at least 50% of cigarette packaging, they fail to meet the WHO's standards for best practices.

The proposed rule stated that the FDA was confident the new warnings could stand up to the legal challenges that took down the earlier rule.

Patricia Folan, an expert in helping smokers quit, said she "applauds" the proposed move.

To combat that, the new proposed warnings highlight lesser-known health issues such as blindness, impotence and diabetes, which many people don't realize can be caused by cigarette smoking.

Hasmeena Kathuria, MD is an associate professor in pulmonary medicine at Boston University Medical School, the director of the Tobacco treatment Center at Boston Medical Center and serves at the vice chair for the ATS Tobacco Action Committee.

The FDA says the new proposed cigarette health warnings provide an "enormous public health opportunity" to increase the public's understanding of the serious health consequences of cigarette smoking.

Ruling in a separate case in March 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the law's requirement for graphic warnings, finding that this provision did not violate the First Amendment.

Grisly images of cancerous tumours and diseased lungs and feet.

Because of several recent lawsuits won by public health groups, the FDA has been forced to implement new regulatory rules on the tobacco (and vaping) industry sooner than planned.

Earlier this year and following a lawsuit filed by several public health groups, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of MA issued an order directing the FDA to finalize the warnings by March of next year. As outlined in the proposed rule today, the unchanged content of these health warnings, as well as their small size, location and lack of an image, severely impairs their ability to convey relevant information about the negative health consequences of cigarette smoking in an effective way to the public.

Despite the best efforts of D.A.R.E. instructors, 34 million adults and 1.4 million youths in the US smoke. We can not afford more delays - not when tobacco use still kills half a million Americans and costs the nation $170 billion in health care expenses each year.

The agency has proposed a rule that would require warnings that include color images depicting some of the serious health risks of smoking, including a child breathing from an oxygen machine after becoming ill from second-hand smoke.

"While most people assume the public knows all they need to understand about the harms of cigarette smoking, there's a surprising number of lesser known risks that both youth and adult smokers and nonsmokers may simply not be aware of", Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said.

The FDA also mentioned that smokers were four times more likely to contract bladder cancer and smoking contributes to 5,000 bladder cancer deaths annually.

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