A court ruling against graphic cigarette labeling has been upheld in the federal government as of last week, giving the Big Tobacco Companies a "win". In June, the FDA unveiled 9 graphic warning ads to be printed on every package of cigarettes sold in the U.S. starting in October. Along with each different advertisement of diseased lungs, a crying baby, a man smoking through a hole in his throat, and others, the toll free number to help people quit smoking was also included to help those that already do smoke or use tobacco products, to find a way to quit.
FDA officials wanted these ads to explicitly focus on the dangers of smoking and to serve as motivation to quit and deter others from starting by seeing these images. In 2009, the FDA was given the authority to regulate tobacco products, and part of that law called for new graphic warnings. The major tobacco companies sued the goverment and said it violated the First Amendment, and got the ads blocked from being printed on their products, for now.
It is by no means the final word though on new cigarette warnings. The labels serve as disclaimers to the public regarding the health consequences of using tobacco products. There are current text-only warnings that are very stale and have gone unnoticed-they haven't been updated since 1984! Because of evidence that large graphic warnings are most effective at informing consumers about health risks of smoking, 43 other countries require large, graphic cigarette warnings.
Companies continue to spend billions of dollars to play down the health risks of smoking and to glamourize tobacco use, especially in youth. These graphic warnings tell the truth about how deadly it is. They will provide powerful incentive for smokers to take life saving steps to quitting and for youth to not even bother to try that first cigarette! "Studies around the world and evidence presented to the FDA also show that
large, graphic warnings, like those adopted by the FDA, are most effective at
informing consumers about health risks of smoking, discouraging children and
other nonsmokers from starting to smoke, and motivating smokers to quit," said
Matthew L. Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.