Public Health Groups Applaud FDA Graphic Warning Labels For Tobacco | Belt, Bruner & Barnett

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Public Health Groups Applaud FDA Graphic Warning Labels For Tobacco

Jun 27, 2011 | Personal Injury

The FDA has proposed graphic changes to the labeling of tobacco products, which account for major health risks, Alabama personal injury attorney Keith T. Belt says.

Cancerous lesions, a corpse, and a suffocating child are among the nine graphic visuals that will be prominently displayed on cigarette packs and ads starting in September 2012.

A host of public health groups immediately applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s unveiling of the graphics on Tuesday. They are required under the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States, responsible for 443,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also costs the economy nearly $200 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity.

The new labels represent the first change in 25 years to existing warnings that some public health experts believe are ineffective because of their size and placement. The new labels will be significantly larger and will include the toll-free number for cessation programs and “vivid graphics depicting the dangers of tobacco use,” according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ASC CAN).

“Requiring the new labels to include quit-line information is a positive step, but to properly leverage the phone number’s potential to help smokers quit, states must fully fund their tobacco prevention and cessation programs,” ACS CAN President Christopher Hansen said in a statement. “Only with proper funding can states adequately address the needs of smokers who are attempting to quit and prevent others from ever starting.”

The American Heart Association also applauded the new graphics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 45 million Americans smoke cigarettes, about 20 percent of the population, and one in five high school students still smoke,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said in a statement. “The new health warnings represent an aggressive and welcome approach to reducing smoking rates that have leveled off in recent years as tobacco companies continue to launch campaigns to entice new smokers and maintain current customers.”

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