U.S.. FDA - unveils proposed warning labels for cigarette packs and smokeless tobacco..

One of 36 proposed
new warning labels..

November 10, 2010 - 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. (Tobacco Control Act: Mandates larger, more varied, and more prominent warning labels on tobacco products (Secs. 201, 204).

Title II - Tobacco Product Warnings; Constituent and Smoke Constituent Disclosure
Section 201 -
Amends the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act to prohibit any person from manufacturing, packaging, selling, offering to sell, distributing, or importing for sale or distribution within the United States any cigarettes the packages of which fail to bear specified warning labels. Specifies the location, size, type size, and color of such labeling. Prohibits tobacco product manufacturers, importers, distributors, or retailers to advertise cigarettes within the United States without specified labeling. Specifies the location, size, type size, color, and border of warning labels for different types of advertisements. Directs the Secretary to issue regulations that require color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of smoking to accompany cigarette label statements.

Section 204 -
Amends the Comprehensive Smokeless Tobacco Health Education Act of 1986 to apply the same restrictions on labeling and advertising to smokeless tobacco products.
FDA issued a proposed rule, Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, proposing to 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 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will gather public comment on 36 proposed images until Jan. 9. The agency will select nine final warning statements and images by June 22 after reviewing the scientific literature, the public comments and a study involving 18,000 people. By Oct. 22, 2012, manufacturers will no longer be able to distribute cigarettes for sale in the United States that do not display the new warnings, which will be updated as needed.

The Tobacco Control Act requires that the nine graphic health warnings appear on the upper portion of the front and rear panels of each cigarette package and comprise at least the top 50 percent of these panels.

Proposed Graphic Health Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements
WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
WARNING: Smoking can kill you.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

Title II - Section 204 of the law is concerned with smokeless tobacco products but NOT one warning is concerned with smokeless tobacco.

Matthew Myers of the Center for Tobacco-Free Kids: "In implementing the new warnings, the United States is catching up to scientific best practices and joining more than 30 countries that already require large, graphic cigarette warnings. Studies have repeatedly shown that large, graphic warnings are most effective at informing consumers about the health risks of smoking, discouraging nonsmokers from starting to smoke, motivating smokers to quit and boosting the likelihood of success in quitting." (Picture based Cigarette Health Warnings, Physicians for A Smoke-Free Canada)

In a statement, Philip Morris USA said it supported the legislation that gave the FDA the power to require the new warnings and "has actively participated in the FDA's rulemaking and public comment processes and plans to do the same on this proposal."

Reference: Proposed Cigarette Product Warning Labels, FDA, 11/10/2010; New, more graphic cigarette warnings unveiled by Rob Stein, Washington Post staff writer, Washington Post, 11/10/2010; Obama Administration Announces Bold National Plan to Curb Tobacco Use and Save Lives, Including Large, Graphic Warnings on Cigarette Packs, /PRNewswire-USNewswire, 11/10/2010.