The Food and Drug Administration is trying to add graphic labels to tobacco packages to reduce the number of smokers in the country. If this campaign succeeds, it might be the first adjustment to US tobacco warnings in three decades.
On Thursday, the agency suggested 13 new proposals which might appear on all tobacco products, including pictures of amputated toes, diseased lungs, and cancerous tumors on the neck.
Other color images might warn smokers that tobaccos would lead to some health issues, such as diabetes, impotence, and heart disease. These illustrations, along with text warnings, could account for half of the front packages. Also, they would be printed on commercial ads.
The existing text warnings are quite small and printed on the side of each package. They haven’t been changed since 1984. These texts warn that smokers would be at risks of heart disease, lung cancer, and other health issues. In the proposal, the FDA announced that the warnings are “invisible” and would be “easily ignored.”
The latest effort by the FDA failed in 2012 in court on free speech causes. A group of judges sided with tobacco manufacturers to reject the proposal.
However, this new attempt is thoroughly backed by studies that suggest how these warnings would educate people about harmful effects of smoking.
Some executives of tobacco firms support increasing people’s awareness on cigarettes. However, the way of conveying these messages should comply with the First Amendment. That’s why they decided to challenge the original warning labels of the FDA.
Up to now, around 120 nations have adopted the graphic, large warning labels. Researchers from those countries claim that the image-based packages would publicize smoking effects and discourage smokers to consume more. The first country to adopt graphic warnings on tobacco products was Canada in 2000.
The existing cigarette packages don’t show the significant harmful effects of smoking. These are dangerous products that need more warnings.
Each year, there are up to 480,000 deaths caused by smoking in the United States, even when the smoking rates have been decreasing over the last decades. According to statistics, around 15% of adults consume tobacco.
The 2009 law gave the agency oversight of this industry. The government allows the FDA to create graphic labels that would appear on the top part of tobacco packages. This time, the FDA plans to introduce 13 labels in total to deal with the situation.