The FDA 's Graphic Decision

Teleconference today to address new warning labels for cigarette packaging, ads

WASHINGTON -- The government's new, nastier-than-ever cigarette labels are expected to roll out this week--possibly as soon as today--plastering large images of cancer lesions, diseased lungs and rotten teeth across packaging to shock smokers into kicking the habit.

"For the first time ever, they will say that tobacco products are addictive, and they will say in the bluntest of terms that tobacco can kill," FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg told the Boston Herald. "We need to make sure that anyone who is considering smoking fully appreciates the consequences of [image-nocss] cigarette use."

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will require that the disturbing images cover at least 50% of the front and the back of a cigarette package by October 2012. The FDA also requires that the startling images take up to at least 20% of every cigarette advertisement.

The FDA will host a teleconference for industry members at 4:15 p.m. (EST) tomorrow to discuss the new text and graphic health warnings. Interested retailers can call in to (800) 619-7596, passcode: FDA.

It's been about 45 years since the government first warned of a link between smoking and lung cancer Still, 20% of Americans smoke, and some researchers are worried that figure will never drop.

The government's grim new warnings hope to get teen-agers to stop smoking before too many long-term health consequences take hold.

The new, large and graphic warnings are a byproduct of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gave the FDA authority to regulate the content, marketing and sale of tobacco products. Former smoker President Obama signed it into law.

See a list of other major dates coming up in the FDA's regulation of tobacco products elsewhere in this issue of CSP Daily News. Andclick here to subscribe to CSP's Tobacco E-News.