FDA Unveils Graphic Anti-Smoking Warnings For Cigarette PackagesThe Washington Post: "Federal health officials Wednesday unveiled plans to replace the warnings cigarette packs began carrying 25 years ago with new versions using images that could include emaciated cancer patients, diseased organs and corpses. Public health authorities and anti-smoking advocates hailed the move as a milestone in the battle against tobacco in the United States that began in 1964 when the surgeon general first declared cigarettes a public health threat. ... Armed with new powers approved by Congress last year, the Food and Drug Administration is proposing warnings that include one containing an image of a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; another depicting a body with a large scar running down the chest; and another showing a man who appears to be suffering a heart attack" (Stein, 11/11).
HealthDay/Bloomberg Businessweek: The 2009 federal law "gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products, including marketing and labeling guidelines, ban certain products and limit nicotine. For the pictures-on-cigarette pack strategy, the FDA will chose by June 22, 2011, nine 'graphic and textual warning statements' to appear prominently on cigarette packages. The warnings will also have to appear in cigarette advertisements. By Oct. 22, 2012, tobacco companies will be required to include these warnings on all cigarette packages sold in the United States. Currently, the United States has some of the weakest requirements for cigarette package warnings in the world" (Gardner, 11/10).
The New York Times: "Some cigarette manufacturers vowed to fight the labels in federal court, saying they infringe the companies' property and free-speech rights. A federal judge in Kentucky ruled in January in a related lawsuit that the F.D.A. could require graphic warning labels but that a proposed restriction intended to eliminate attractive coloring from cigarette packaging infringes free speech. That ruling has been appealed" (Harris, 11/10).
The Wall Street Journal: Cigarette manufacturers had little comment about the FDA announcement. However, Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers, which supports the tobacco companies' lawsuit, said, "Whatever people feel about tobacco use, that does not allow all the protections of the First Amendment to be thrown out" (McKay and Kesmodel, 11/11).
CBS News: "Canada was the first country to begin using visual warning labels, introducing them in 2000. Now, more than 30 countries employ visual warning labels, including Australia, Brazil, India and Egypt. Some countries' labels are particularly graphic, like Brazil's, which include dead premature fetuses, post-autopsy cadavers, and gangrenous feet. While it is impossible to say how many people quit because of the labels that have been introduced, Hammond said every source of evidence suggests that the labels do help people quit" (Norman, 11/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.