FDA to debut new smoking labels next year

New label shows smoker with hole in his throat. / Courtesy: FDA

New cigarette warning labels will depict graphic images of smokers and their damaged organs as a way of trying to get people to kick the habit.

The new labels, which will debut in September 2012, mark the first change the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made to cigarette packaging in more than two decades.

One of the labels depicts a smoker's and non-smoker's lung. Another depicts a deceased man on an autopsy table. Not all of the labels are graphic; one shows an image of a man wearing an "I Quit," T-shirt with the caption, "Quitting smoking now seriously reduces serious risks to your health."

"We know that many of our children are impressed by visual images, rather than things to read," said Brenda Greene, the deputy health director at Southwest Georgia District Public Health. "Maybe these visual things will reach them and have a greater impact."

Dougherty County residents have mixed reaction to the labels.

"It [the labels] will tell people to quit smoking, and hopefully get the population down on smoking," said Jamie Hansen, an occasional smoker from Lee County.

R.D. Coleman, who has been smoking for 50 years, said the labels might help. "It [the labels] would probably help me try to stop." Coleman, a Baconton resident, said he has tried to quit smoking once, but was not successful. He said although the labels might make him attempt quitting, he does not know how effective they will be in the long term.

Each of the eight labels will be required on all cigarette boxes sold in the United States, and will cover the top portion of the box.

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