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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Cigarette Smoking Warnings

By November 14, 2010

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Cigarette Warning - Photo courtesy of the FDASurprisingly, the United States has some of the smallest warning labels on cigarettes. The FDA has proposed a new rule, Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, that changes the way health warnings are displayed on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements and puts them more on par with the warning labels in other countries.

Currently, four health warnings from the Surgeon General are rotated on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements, but many experts think that they have become almost invisible to most smokers, including teens who pick up their first pack of cigarettes. However, many smokers realize that smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and may complicate pregnancy, but they continue to smoke.

The new cigarette warnings will include a large color graphic image that will be accompanied by one of nine new health warnings, which will be rotated on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements. The new warnings will hopefully 'convey the harm and danger that tobacco use causes,' and 'effectively convey the major health risks of smoking.'

What do you think? Many people start out smoking when they are teens, so it is important that parents get in on the discussion and help to create cigarette warnings that will hopefully keep their teens from smoking, since all of the talking in the world at home might not keep your child from picking up a cigarette some day. View all of the new warning labels and tell the FDA what you think.

Personally, I would think that in addition to health warnings, they should add some simple reasons not to smoke, which might discourage some people from smoking, like:

  • Cigarettes will stain your teeth and make your breath, hair, and clothes smell like smoke.
  • Cigarettes are an expensive habit.
  • Your family and friends want you to quit smoking.

Parents might also review all of the new cigarette warnings with their kids, since even if the new rule goes into effect, it will be some time before we see these new graphics and warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements.

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