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FDA Orders New, Straightforward Cigarette Warning Labels
Starting September, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will require new, updated health warnings on cigarettes. The 25 year-old, plain-text Surgeon General warnings will be out, replaced with updated, straightforward messages like "WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers," "WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive" and "WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease." The text will be much larger than the old Surgeon General's warnings, and will be accompanied by powerful pictures, like photos of corpses, diseased lungs and oral cancer. To choose the warnings, FDA reviewed relevant scientific literature, considered over 1,700 public comments and performed a survey of 18,000 citizens. The new warnings will be rotated to keep them fresh. They will cover the top 50 percent of the front and rear panels of cigarette packs, and in cigarette ads, the warnings must occupy at least 20 percent of the upper portion of each ad. The new warnings were authorized by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that President Obama signed in 2009.