FDA issues graphic cigarette labels

FDA requires graphic warnings on cigarette packsAccording to USA Today, the FDA will soon require tobacco companies to cover the top half of cigarette packs with very graphic anti-smoking images. Their goal is to encourage the nation’s 43 million smokers to quit and prevent millions more from starting, especially teens. It’s about time, and if this was done 30 years ago, my parents might still be alive.

I grew up in a household of smoking parents but thankfully never started myself. I remember long trips in the car and the smell of ash trays.They each smoked 2-3 packs a day – chain smoking.

Dad picked up the habit in the Navy and only stopped smoking after his first heart attack at age 55. His recovery was made more difficult since Mom continued to smoke heavily, and Dad soon suffered a second attack and died. I blame that partially on smoking.

Even Dad’s death didn’t cause Mom to quit smoking, which shows just how addictive the habit is. Mom eventually was forced to stop when she developed emphysema and had to be put on oxygen. I watched her suffer through the last several years of her life. They say it’s like breathing through a soda straw. How awful. She moved about with a portable oxygen tank on her walker or wheelchair. As bad as it was for her, she had it better than many other smokers. That’s because she was able to sell her condominium and use the money to build an apartment onto my brother’s home. That gave her the benefit of living independently while  being close by and without feeling like a burden on the family.

To learn more about the new FDA rules, watch the video below or read the USA Today article.

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One Response to “FDA issues graphic cigarette labels”

  • In November, a federal judge in California put the FDA’s plan on hold, noting, on behalf of cigarette makers, that the graphic warnings may violate the First Amendment. The images, said the judge, cross the line from providing mere information to pushing a biased, anti-smoking advocacy message.

    In December, 24 state attorneys general filed a friend of the court brief in support of the FDA, saying the agency should be allowed to put the graphic labels on “lethal and addictive” tobacco products. The FDA maintains that the benefit to the public in conveying the dangers of smoking outweighs tobacco companies’ free speech rights. The agency remains hopeful that if its proposed images aren’t allowed, other equally powerful labeling will be.

    This health issue is one to watch in 2012.

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