In a dramatic bid to get more Americans to quit smoking, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released nine graphic warning labels that will appear on all packs of cigarettes by no later than September 2012.
One image shows a man’s face and a lighted cigarette in his hand, with smoke escaping from a hole in his neck — the result of a tracheotomy. The caption reads “Cigarettes are addictive.” Another image shows a mother holding a baby as smoke swirls about them, with the warning: “Tobacco smoke can harm your children.”
A third images depicts a distraught woman with the caption: “Warning: Smoking causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.”
A fourth picture shows a mouth with smoked-stained teeth and an open sore on the lower lip. “Cigarettes cause cancer,” the caption reads.
In addition to the images, the label on packs of cigarettes will include a phone number — 1-800-QUIT-NOW — so smokers will know where to go for help quitting.
By law, the labels must appear on every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States and on all cartons and in all cigarette advertising. The campaign marks the first major change to cigarette packaging in the last 25 years, the FDA said.
“President Obama is committed to protecting our nation’s children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release.
“These labels will encourage smokers to quit, and prevent children from smoking. President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation’s past, and not our future.”
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the new warnings the “most dramatic change in cigarette warnings in the history of the United States. For the first time the warnings are large enough to be seen and graphic enough to catch the attention of consumers.”
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