New Labels Show Damage of Smoking

The photograph shows a pair of healthy lungs next to a pair ravaged by lung disease. Another shows a man smoking a cigarette with a hole in his throat. It reads: “WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.”

These are two of the government’s nine graphic images that will appear on every pack of cigarettes and in every cigarette advertisement by September 2012. It is the most significant change to cigarette labels in 25 years, health officials have declared. The warnings are part of of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

“President Obama is committed to protecting our nation’s children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a news release. “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.”

More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. Nearly 450,000 people die every year from tobacco use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.

Health officials are hoping the new labels will encourage more people to quit smoking or to never begin. One out of five adults and 19.5 percent of high school students currently smoke, according to federal health statistics.

Click here to view the new warning labels.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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