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FDA Proposes Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs
Date:11/10/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- A series of gruesome pictures depicting emaciated lung cancer patients, a dead body in a morgue, a baby confined to a respirator (presumably the result of secondhand smoke) and other consequences of smoking that will appear on the outside of cigarette packages will hopefully shock people into quitting the habit or not starting in the first place, U.S. officials announced Wednesday.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said a new "comprehensive tobacco control strategy" would include not only these graphic photos but bold statements such as "Smoking Will Kill You."

"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. When the rule takes effect, the health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes," U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg said in a prepared statement. "This is a concrete example of how FDA's new responsibilities for tobacco product regulation can benefit the public's health."

Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said: "We want people to look on the side of cigarette packages and notice that cigarettes cause heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and a host of other problems. We also want them to know that light smoking is not acceptable. Even one to three cigarettes a day triples the risk of heart disease."

The proposed new deterrents are part of a broader FDA anti-tobacco strategy to combat the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States, one that claims 1,200 lives each day. The plan is also an outgrowth of a 2009 federal law that gave the FDA the authority to re
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