FDA Proposes Graphic New Warning Labels on Cigarette Packs

By EmilyM


Food and Drug Administration Photos


A little more effective than the empty words of warning from the Surgeon General right?

Some might call these new warning labels genius, others may seem them as offensive, but these are the realities of smoking. The F.D.A hopes images like these can inspire smokers to quit when they are forced to look their potential future in the face every time they reach for their pack.

The 36 images proposed as the new F.D.A warning labels were revealed this week and will soon be narrowed down to just 9. Some of the images, in addition to the ones seen above, include a mother holding a baby in a smokey room and a diseased lung.

Last year, the United States reached a new milestone in raising health concerns about smoking when it became the first country to mandate any sort of warning label on every pack. This label  is required on all cigarettes sold in the United States currently and states, “Surgeon General’s Warning: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, and May Complicate Pregnancy.” In a nation bombarded with fine print, words of warning are easily skimmed right over – these new images however…not so easy to ignore.

While the U.S. was the first to require mandatory warnings on cigarette packs, other countries have followed suit. While many view these new F.D.A.proposed images as too graphic, many European labels are considered to be far more disturbing with blacked teeth and other graphic images.

These new designs are now open to the public’s eyes and comments are welcomes.  It seems there is  likely to be  more than 40 million people ready to voice their opinion. Currently that is the amount of Americans who smoke and nearly 4,000 teens try their very first cigarette each and every day. When these 9 new designs become mandatory on each pack by the projected October 22, 2012 date, the campaigns effectiveness will be measured. Smokers generally know the consequences of smoking, however, being forced the look these warnings in the face each day will hopefully have an impact on some.

Teens especially may be turned off by these new warning labels, which would be one large success for the campaign. Most kids learn smoking is wrong. They hear it from their parents, their teachers, television ads and other positive adult influences, but many may not have given much thought to the long-term health effects. When you are a child or teen, it’s hard to ever picture getting older, but it happens before we know it. There are also children who have grown up with adults who smoke, many of which do this openly in front of them. Perhaps seeing the warnings will help them break the cycle and even encourage loved ones to quit.

From a marketing standpoint, this is just one more obstacle that has been thrown at cigarette producers. However, it’s not nearly the first.

There have been countless ads on television and in print over the years that have fully attacked the industry and exposed the dangers smoking presents. The new labels seem to be a merge of the old warning and the in-your-face anti-tobacco commercials that have been effectively running for years. Unfortunately tobacco companies are notorious for coming up with ways to persevere in spite of constant criticism. Have you ever noticed cigarette promotions that are run right after the New Year when resolutions to quit have recently been made? Companies try to lure back these loyal customers with “buy one, get one” packs and other promotional giveaways. Sneaky yet undoubtedly effective for those fighting off the difficulties of nicotine addiction and withdrawal.

It’s likely that cigarette companies will find some way to disguise these warnings with outer wrapping or other deceptive tricks. But will they be successful? It stands to reason that the F.D.A. has probably already taken this into account and may develop rules for derailing these types of  marketing tricks.

So what do you think about these new labels? With such graphic photos and warnings, perhaps some see this as almost a throw back the the novel 1984 when “Big Brother” dictates all and knows all. Others are likely to see this as a great step in the battle to make America smoke-free.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this new campaign! Share your comments here –