Watch CBS News

FDA Pushes For Disturbing Warning Labels On Cigarette Packages

(CBSDFW.COM) - A new rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration would have the United States join the rest of most developed countries showing graphic imagery on cigarette packages.

The push comes nine years after the F.D.A first proposed realistic, disturbing images as new warnings on cigarette packs but was thwarted by major tobacco companies in court. As it was then, the agency's goal is to promote greater public understanding of the negative health consequences of smoking.

The proposed warnings, which feature photo-realistic color images depicting some of the lesser-known, but serious, health risks of cigarette smoking, stand to represent the most significant change to cigarette labels in 35 years.

(credit: FDA)

Examples provided by the FDA include:

  • A young boy wheezing into an oxygen mask, with the warning that tobacco smoke can harm children.
  • A man's chest with a scar running down the middle, with text noting that smoking causes heart disease and strokes.
  • A sample jar of bloody urine, along with a warning that smoking causes bladder cancer.

Research shows the textual health warning statements currently on cigarette packages and in advertisements aren't adequate to address information gaps the public holds about the health risks of smoking. While many assume consumers know all they need about the harms of cigarette smoking, there is a surprising number of lesser-known risks that smokers and nonsmokers may simply not be aware of, such as bladder cancer, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, and conditions that cause blindness.

The FDA said the new proposed warnings with color images provide an enormous opportunity to increase the public's understanding of those risks.

Similar packaging has existed in Europe and other parts of the world for decades.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.