WASHINGTON - On June 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will unveil the final graphic health warnings chosen to appear on every pack of cigarettes sold and on all cigarette advertising in the United States. This represents the most significant change to cigarette labels in more than a quarter century and will affect everything from packaging to advertising. The labels combine graphic imagery with straightforward facts to make the message clear: smoking can kill you.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) requires that cigarette packages and advertisements have larger and more visible graphic health warnings. FDA issued a proposed rule, "Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements," that will modify the required warnings that appear on cigarette packages and in cigarette advertisements. These new required warnings would consist of nine new textual warning statements accompanied by color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of smoking.
The Tobacco Control Act requires FDA to issue final regulations requiring these color graphics by June 22, 2011. It also specifies that the requirement for the new health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements will take effect 15 months after issuance of this final rule.
Visit the FDA€™s tobacco products web page on June 21 to see the selected graphic images and text. Canada and the United Kingdom are both considering stringent and graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging.