Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cigarettes Get Graphic New Warning Labels

Today the FDA announced a major leap forward in the ongoing struggle of educating the public about the dangers of smoking. 

Beginning in September 2012, every pack of cigarettes will be required to have a graphic warning label reminding the public about the real life consequences of smoking.  Thanks to the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act signed into law in June of 2009, each pack of cigarettes will contain one of the following images:
One of the FDA's new warning labels.

  • A mouth full of gross teeth with a lip ulcer - early signs of oral cancer
  • Before and after picture of lungs exposed to smoking
  • A cute baby about to be engulfed by a cloud of poisonous tobacco smoke
  • A gentleman smoking through a hole in his throat
  • An overweight man on oxygen presumably having a heart attack – a consequence of smoking
  • A cartoon of a premature infant – prematurity a consequence of smoking during pregnancy
  • A distraught woman next to the caption “WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.” 
  • A corpse with his chest sewn up
  • A dude proudly sticking his chest out with an “I Quit” logo on his shirt

These images range from the gross to the sentimental to the uplifting.  I applaud this effort because we need all the help we can get when it comes to helping people stop smoking. 

Cigarettes have been designed to be one of the most efficient ways to deliver one of the most addictive substances on this planet – nicotine.  Packaged with slick advertising cigarettes have worked their way to being the number one cause of PREVENTABLE death.  Regrettably, I don’t think there’s a graphic for that.

In Baltimore City, smoking rates are as high as they are in states such as Kentucky, one of the highest producers of tobacco plants.  There are no safe tobacco products, nor is there a risk-free exposure level for adults, children or pregnant women. Tobacco is a major contributor to early heart attacks, strokes, chronic lung diseases and cancers. There is also compelling evidence of the harmful impact of secondhand smoke to nonsmokers and children who suffer from respiratory infections. Smoking is also associated with preterm births, still­births, and low birth weight.

That’s why Healthy Baltimore 2015 identifies tobacco as a priority area for action. Over the course of the coming year, we will collaborate with partners across the city to help our residents stop smoking, or better yet – never start.  One of our most important resources is 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Which graphic do you prefer?

Take Care Baltimore!


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