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FDA to Require New, Graphic Cigarette Health Warning Labels
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has unveiled hard-hitting, graphic new cigarette warning labels that will be required on cigarette packs after October 22, 2012. The labels show corpses, a man smoking through a tracheostomy, pictures of diseased lungs, a bedridden man suffering from end-stage cancer, rotten teeth, a man in the throes of a heart attack, a woman blowing smoke in a baby's face and similar depictions meant to show the actual physical effects of smoking. The graphics will be accompanied by stronger messages about the health effects of smoking, including "WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers," "WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive," "WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer," and "WARNING: Smoking can kill you." The labels will be required to take up half the cigarette pack. The FDA has made the 36 potential warning labels (pdf) public and is seeking public comment to choose the nine that will adorn tobacco packs. Similar labels are already in use in many foreign countries. The new, more graphic labels are a requirement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed by President Obama in June, 2009, which for the first time allows the FDA to exert some regulation over tobacco.