Beginning in September 2012, U.S. cigarette packs will display graphic images showing the gruesome health consequences of smoking.
The Food and Drug Administration released nine color images that include a smoker's corpse, a man's chest with smoke exiting a tracheotomy hole and a diseased lung next to a healthy one.
The images will cover the entire top half of cigarette packs, front and back. Because of the change, brand names can only be placed on the bottom half of the packaging. Purchasers will also see the 1-800-QUIT number on individual boxes.
This isn't the first time U.S. cigarette packs have been modified. The first warning label, "Cigarettes may be hazardous to your health," was ordered in 1965. In the mid-1980s, the text warnings were made more explicit. A 2009 law required the stronger warnings being introduced now.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new labels will discourage smoking among those who do and those considering it.
According to FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, there is information from the experience of other countries, which have already implemented graphic health warning labels, that similar labels have proved affective.
"I'm here today with a renewed sense of hope and momentum that we can make tobacco death and disease a part of our past, and not a continuous part of our future." Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary.
"These graphic smoking health warnings really are designed to help make sure that people are aware of the risks of smoking, that they are encouraged to stop smoking if they do smoke, and, importantly, to discourage people who are just trying a cigarette or two for the first time from ever taking up this deadly habit." Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary.
1. What are the health dangers associated with smoking?
2. Do the people who smoke know the health risks of cigarettes?
3. What is the Food and Drug Administration? What role does this organization play in the U.S. government?
1. Why did the government introduce new restrictions on how cigarettes can be marketed and sold?
2. Why are the new images considered "graphic?"
3. Do you think using the images will be effective in discouraging people from smoking? Why or why not? Do you think it would discourage you?
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