Dead bodies, diseased lungs and a man on a ventilator were among the graphic images for revamped tobacco labels unveiled by US health officials.
Proposed in November under a law that put the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry under the control of the Food and Drug Administration, the new labels must be on cigarette packages and in advertisements starting in October 2012.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg were to announce the nine new warnings at the White House, but the labels were released this week.
WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive
They show images that may disturb some, including one titled "WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive," illustrated with a photograph of a man smoking a cigarette through a hole in his throat.
Others messages point out the dangers of secondhand smoke to children, tobacco's causal link to fatal lung disease, cancer, strokes, heart disease and death.
Sebelius said their goal is to stop children from starting to smoke and offer adults who want to quit some help.
"We have about 4,000 people under 18 who try their first cigarette and about 1,000 of them become permanent smokers. And that's not good for our country," she told the CBS "Early Show".
"This is really aimed at making sure kids don't start in the first place."
Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act called for cigarette packages to include warning statements in large type covering half of the front and back of each package and graphic images showing adverse health effects from smoking.
The warnings are also to occupy the top 20% of every tobacco advertisement of companies such as Altria Group Inc's Philip Morris unit, Reynolds American Inc's R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Lorillard Inc's Lorillard Tobacco Co.
The anti-smoking group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said the images represent a dramatic change from current health warnings.
"The current warnings are more than 25 years old, go unnoticed on the side of cigarette packs and fail to effectively communicate the serious health risks of smoking," the group said.
R.J. Reynolds has challenged the legality of mandated larger and graphic warnings in a federal lawsuit.
A 1964 surgeon general's report that linked smoking to lung cancer and other diseases spurred a broad anti-smoking campaign and health warnings on cigarette packages. (Reuters Health, June 2011)
View: Anti-Tabacco Art
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