Creepy Tobacco Warnings, FDA’s Attempt to Combat Smoking

If creepy anti-smoking ads were not enough, beginning 2012 all cigarette packages in the US will feature even more creepy tobacco warnings. Smokers or not, the public in the US will be exposed to grotesque images featuring diseased lungs, dead bodies, mothers blowing smoke in their children’s faces and worse. A horror show on display, that will impact package design for all cigarette brands trading in the country. The news immediately affected the industry, as today, the Dow Jones tobacco index, whose components include Altria Group (MO.N), Lorillard (LO.N) and Reynolds American (RAI.N), was down 0.6 percent in morning trading.

FDA issued a proposed rule, Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, proposing to modify the required warnings that appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements.

tobacco smoke causes cancer

The agency is seeking public comment on the proposed rule through January 9, 2011. There are about 72 proposed warning variations (high res pdf), featuring various images, from “soft” to grotesque. The nine proposed warnings read:

WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
WARNING: Smoking can kill you.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

From the 72 variations proposed, FDA plans to select a set of nine required warnings for the final rule, each of which is comprised of one color graphic that is paired with one of the nine textual warning statements. FDA is expected to issue final regulations requiring these color graphics by June 22, 2011. The new rules will enter in effect for the whole tobacco industry in the US, by October 2012.

Interested persons may submit either electronic or written comments on this proposed rule in the ways suggested by the FDA in this document (pdf).

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