HHS has announced a broad tobacco-control strategy that includes a proposed rule by the Food and Drug Administration to feature nine larger and more-noticeable written warning statements on both cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements.
Graphic tobacco warnings proposed by feds
After the rule becomes final, the warnings will be the most significant change in cigarette advertising in more than 25 years, according to HHS, which reports tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the U.S. and is responsible for 443,000 deaths a year.
Included in the new strategy is a proposal from the FDA called Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, which highlights a requirement of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that nine new and larger images appear on cigarette packages and advertising. The public will have an opportunity to comment on 36 proposed images through Jan. 9, 2011, and the FDA will select the final graphic images by June 22, 2011, after the agency reviews comments, literature and results from a study of 18,000 people. By Oct. 22, 2012, manufacturers will no longer be able to distribute for sale in the U.S. cigarettes that do not display the warnings.
“Today, FDA takes a crucial step toward reducing the tremendous toll of illness and death caused by tobacco use by proposing to dramatically change how cigarette packages and advertising look in this country,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a news release. “When the rule takes effect, the health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes.”
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