New research into the effects of “graphic health warnings on cigarette packs” estimates that “the percentage of people smoking in the U.S. will drop from about 14 percent to 4 percent if the graphic health warnings are implemented this year.
About 120 countries around the world already have such graphic health warnings on cigarette packs. The disturbing pictures typically cover most of the space on the tobacco packaging and the researchers say the evidence from multiple countries suggests these graphic health warnings do work as intended.
Labels with graphic health warnings had been set to appear on cigarette packs in the U.S. in 2012, but tobacco industry legal action derailed that effort.
The new study suggests that about 179,000 deaths in the U.S. might have been prevented over the past decade if smokers had been forced to confront such images every time they reached for a pack of cigarettes.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a set of 13 graphic warning labels that would cover half of a cigarette pack’s front and back.
The warnings “stand to represent the most significant change to cigarette labels in 35 years,” the agency says. The warning labels are now scheduled to appear on packs starting later this year,
Hopefully, the FDA’s efforts will not, once again, go up in smoke.
The findings were published in JAMA Health Forum.
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