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Over 402 members of the Salud America! network sent emails to the FDA to speak in favor of the newly required health warning labels for cigarette packages and advertisements.
The proposed rule, open for public comment from Aug. 16 to Oct. 15, 2019, and later extended to Nov. 27, 2019, would implement a provision of the Tobacco Control Act that requires FDA to issue regulations requiring color graphic labels that depict the negative health consequences of smoking along with written warning statements.
Graphics include striking visuals of harm among children, babies, and self.
“Given that tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., there’s a lot at stake to ensure the public understands these risks,” Dr. Ned Sharpless, Acting FDA Commissioner, said in a statement.
Studies Support the Proposed Cigarette Warning Labels
Research shows that effective warning labels increase knowledge about risks associated with smoking and can influence future decisions about smoking.
The cigarette companies (or their international counterparts) have implemented graphic warning labels in at least 120 countries. Smokers in many countries exhibited significant gaps in their knowledge of the risks of smoking.
Smokers who noticed the warnings were significantly more likely to endorse health risks, including lung cancer and heart disease
Australia and other countries introduced warning labels, with several positive consequences. These included: rising awareness of smoking’s negative effects, recognition of the labels among adolescents, increased thinking about quitting among adolescents who had already smoked cigarettes, and decreased intentions to smoke cigarettes among youth who had talked about the warning labels.
What’s Next for Cigarette Warning Labels?
The proposed rule is slated to become final next March.
The warnings would then show up on cigarette packs and in advertisements 15 months after that, if the policy goes uncontested in court, according to the FDA.
Get Help to Quit Smoking!
Quit smoking today, you don’t have to wait on the graphic warning labels.
The Quitxt program, a bilingual text-message and Facebook Messenger service led by Dr. Amelie Ramirez, head of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio, can help you start.
Quitxt sends you messages with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, finding things to do instead of smoking, handling stress, using nicotine replacement if needed, and more.