U.S. Pushes For New Graphic Warning Labels On Cigarette Packaging

Cigarette Warning Labels
Cigarette Warning Labels

A new warning label could be added to cigarette boxes to help inform the public that smoking kills. If successful, it would be the first update to U.S cigarettes in 35 years.

Health officials in America are trying to make a new label warning law that will go on all cigarette packaging in America.

THE FDA proposed 13 new cigarette packaging graphics that will have warning signs and pictures of sick people to encourage Americans to stop smoking.

 The 13 different label warning’s would have images of cancerous neck tumors, diseases lungs and feet with amputated toes. These warning labels will be printed in full color on the packaging to enhance the serious ness of smoking cigarettes.

Are Current Cigarette Warning Labels Outdated?

The current warning label has not been updated since 1984, and still contains just black small text saying: ‘SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.’

The FDA has stated on record that these warnings ‘go unnoticed’ and are virtually ‘invisible’ to consumers.

The FDA’s previous attempt in 2011 to change the warning label was defeated in court, ruling that the agency could not force cigarette companies to carry these graphic images of sick people and body parts.

What is the difference now in 2019 as opposed to 2011? The FDA now says they have research and scientific data to back up their claims.

Current U.S. cigarette labels don't reflect the enormous toll of smoking, said Geoff Fong, who heads the International Tobacco Control Project.

"This is a deadly product," said Fong, who studies anti-tobacco policies at Canada's University of Waterloo. "We have more prominent warnings on many other products that don't pose even a fraction of the risk that cigarettes do."

Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans ever year.

"Our results suggest that graphic warning labels significantly enhance paying attention to warnings," Fong said, who has studied the impact of a variety of anti-smoking efforts in more than 20 countries around the world.

Under the 2009 law that gave the FDA oversight over the Tobacco industry, Congress ordered the agency to create a graphic warning label to cover the top half of cigarette boxes.

But a three panel judge ruled that the FDA's plans violated the companies right to freedom of speech. 

The judges said the images were unconstitutional because they were "crafted to evoke a strong emotional response," rather than to educate or warn consumers.

The FDA said it would develop a new batch of custom labels, but when new ones didn't appear, eight health groups sued the agency in 2016 for the "unreasonable delay."

Under a court order this year, the FDA was required to propose new package labels by August, with final versions by next March.