FDA Unveils Final Cigarette Warning Labels
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today
unveiled the nine graphic health warnings required to appear on every
pack of cigarettes sold in the United States and in every cigarette
advertisement. This bold measure will help prevent children from
smoking, encourage adults who do to quit, and ensure every American
understands the dangers of smoking.
The warnings represent the most significant
changes to cigarette labels in more than 25 years and will affect
everything from packaging to advertisements and are required to be
placed on all cigarette packs, cartons and ads no later than September
"President Obama is committed to protecting our
nation’s children and the American people from the dangers of
tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of
the health risks of smoking and they will help encourage smokers to
quit, and prevent children from smoking," said Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "President Obama wants to make
tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation’s past, and
not our future."
Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and
preventable death in the United States, responsible for 443,000 deaths
each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
and costs our economy nearly $200 billion every year in medical costs
and lost productivity.
These warnings, which were proposed in November
2010, were required under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco
Control Act which was passed with broad bipartisan support in Congress
and signed into law by president Obama on June 22, 2009.
The FDA selected nine images from the originally
proposed 36 after reviewing the relevant scientific literature,
analyzing the results from an 18,000 person study and considering more
than 1,700 comments from a variety of groups, including the tobacco
industry, retailers, health professionals, public health and other
advocacy groups, academics, state and local public health agencies,
medical organizations and individual consumers.
Each warning is accompanied by a smoking cessation
phone number, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which will allow it to be seen at the
time it is most relevant to smokers, increasing the likelihood that
smokers who want to quit will be successful.
When implemented in September 2012, all cigarettes
manufactured for sale or distribution in the United States will need to
include the new graphic health warnings on their packages. The
introduction of these warnings is expected to have a significant public
health impact by decreasing the number of smokers, resulting in lives
saved, increased life expectancy, and improved health status.
"The Tobacco Control Act requires FDA to provide
current and potential smokers with clear andtruthful information about
the risks of smoking – these warnings do that," said Commissioner
of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.
The FDA action is part of a broad Obama
Administration strategy previously announced by HHS Assistant Secretary
for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H. "Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A
Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan" outlines specific,
evidence-based actions that will help create a society free of
tobacco-related death and disease.
For more information on graphic warning labels and hi-resolution images visit www.fda.gov/cigarettewarnings.