(RxWiki News) You will soon see new cigarette packaging in stores near you.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final rule to require new health warnings for tobacco companies to include on cigarette packages and in ads.
This new proposal is meant to help the public gain a better understand of how unhealthy smoking really is, according to the FDA. The warnings will include realistic photos of the health risks tied to cigarette smoking.
The FDA said it took a science-based approach when developing its new cigarette warnings. The proposal, issued last year, included 13 warnings that were to be considered. The FDA decided on the following 11 warnings for the final rule:
- WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
- WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
- WARNING: Smoking causes head and neck cancer.
- WARNING: Smoking causes bladder cancer, which can lead to bloody urine.
- WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy stunts fetal growth.
- WARNING: Smoking can cause heart disease and strokes by clogging arteries.
- WARNING: Smoking causes COPD, a lung disease that can be fatal.
- WARNING: Smoking reduces blood flow, which can cause erectile dysfunction.
- WARNING: Smoking reduces blood flow to the limbs, which can require amputation.
- WARNING: Smoking causes type 2 diabetes, which raises blood sugar.
- WARNING: Smoking causes cataracts, which can lead to blindness.
“The 11 finalized cigarette health warnings represent the most significant change to cigarette labels in more than 35 years and will considerably increase public awareness of lesser-known, but serious negative health consequences of cigarette smoking,” said Mitch Zeller, JD, director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, in a press release.
Starting on June 18, 2021, cigarette packages and advertisements will be required to included these warnings. These warnings will take up the top 50 percent of the front and rear panels of cigarette packages. In advertisements, the warnings will take up at least 20 percent of the top.
Cigarette packages started to include health warnings in 1966. In 1984, cigarette packages were changed to include the surgeon general’s warnings (still on the packaging today).
Research has found that these warnings have, after all this time, become invisible to both smokers and nonsmokers.
"While most people assume the public knows all they need to understand about the harms of cigarette smoking, there’s a surprising number of lesser-known risks that both youth and adult smokers and nonsmokers may simply not be aware of, such as bladder cancer, diabetes and conditions that can cause blindness,” said former Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless in a press release.
Some of those lesser known health risks include erectile dysfunction and the risk of amputation.
The FDA estimated that, in the US, 34.3 million adults and nearly 1.4 million youth 12 to 17 years old currently smoke cigarettes. Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the US. In fact, cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure take around 480,000 American lives annually, according to the FDA.
Speak with your local pharmacist if you are looking to stop smoking.