New FDA Cigarette Warning Labels Are Larger, More Prominent

The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hopes that the new cigarette warning labels scheduled to replace the commonly known graphic representations of illnesses caused by smoking on current packs beginning September 2012 will have a significant public health impact. The FDA strongly believes that graphic images help decreasing the number of smokers, and as a result, have a considerable impact on population life expectancy.

Thus, a new set of images has been designed to reflect FDA’s commitment to saving lives. The image featured on the right is already a classic, and none of the other graphics in the batch show more creativity. A perfect example of size doesn’t equal quality. Larger doesn’t mean better in this case. Repeating the same message over and over, obsessively, may have an impact on some, while others will probably ignore the graphics: addictions are always stronger than doctor’s orders.

The final FDA set of cigarette health warnings contains nine different text warnings and accompanying color graphics to increase awareness of the specific health risks associated with smoking, such as death, addiction, lung disease, cancer, stroke and heart disease; to encourage smokers to quit; and to inspire youth to say no to tobacco.

Starting in September 2012, the new cigarette health warnings will appear on the top 50 percent of both the front and rear panels of each cigarette package, and in the upper portion of each cigarette advertisement, occupying at least 20 percent of the area of the advertisement. And this is how cigarette package designers are out of jobs.

One last note: beginning October 2012, cigarette manufacturers can no longer distribute cigarettes for sale in the United States unless they display the new cigarette health warnings. Of course, they will comply.

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