Harsh new warning labels designed to cut smoking - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Harsh new warning labels designed to cut smoking

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(NBC) - The government is about to get graphic with cigarette packs. New warnings have been proposed for tobacco products and you may find some of the images disturbing.

The government hopes you find them disturbing enough to quit. "We need to be explicit we need to remind people about those negative and serious health consequences," says the Food and Drug Administration's Dr. Margaret Hamburg.

36 images have been proposed. Research and public comment will narrow it down to nine.

Starting in 2012 all cigarette packs will have those warnings displayed on 50 percent of the front and back.

Still, some say it's not the government's role to make smokers quit. "To force our stores to be full of images of corpses with stitches down their chests and cancer patients is needless pornography on the cigarette pack," says Reason Magazine senior editor Katherine Mangu-Ward.

In a statement RJ Reynolds said: "We are challenging the legality of requiring larger and graphic warnings."

The government insists bold warnings are nothing new. "You have countries around the world that have been doing this for the last decade," says Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh.

With tobacco related diseases still claiming roughly 1,200 American lives per day health officials think a little shock may be just what the doctor ordered.

This is all just one part of the Tobacco Control Initiative passed by Congress.

The FDA is seeking public comment on the proposed rule from Friday, November 12, 2010 through Tuesday, January 11, 2011. To submit an official comment during this time period:

  • Go to www.regulations.gov and insert docket number FDA-2010-N-0568 into the "search" box and follow the prompts.
  • Send a fax, with your comments, to 301-827-6870.
  • Mail/Hand delivery/Courier (for paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions) to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

All comments should be identified by Docket ID No. FDA-2010-N-0568. It is only necessary to send one set of comments. 

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