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New Graphic Health Warnings
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Jonathan Foulds, PhD posted:
Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the new graphic health warnings that will appear on the top 50% of the front and back of each cigarette pack and the top 20% of each cigarette advertisement (by September, 2012). There are nine new pictorial warnings, each accompanying a specific text health warning and each one has the toll-free phone number for the national smoking cessation quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW), where smokers can receive smoking cessation counseling.

USA will join over 30 other countries in having large pictorial health warnings on cigarettes. Overall, although I feel that the new US warnings are not as strong as those in other countries, this is a very big positive step. I am glad that 1-800-QUITNOW is added to every pack and that most of the pictures are vivid and photographic in nature.

The only one I think is very weak is the one warning about smoking in pregnancy. This is the only one with a cartoon rather than a photograph. When I wrote to FDA to comment on the initial panel of 32 warnings I stated an opinion that the cartoons were less impactful and that some of the wording is overly cautious. For example, "Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby." Can? Why not state the fact plainly? "Smoking during pregnancy harms your baby." I also recommended that the government's own smoking cessation website, http://www.smokefree.gov, should be added to the warnings as a reliable source of information on quitting.

The new pictorial health warnings will be much more effective than the current small text-only warnings in conveying to smokers the real consequences of smoking cigarettes and will likely have the effect of prompting more smokers to try to quit. So I think this is a big step forward in the US. What do you think? You can access details and pictures of the new warnings here.

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Do you think the new graphic health warnings for cigarette packs will do a better job than the current warnings on the pack, of informing smokers about the health effects of smoking, and encouraging them to quit?
  • No, I think they will be less effective than the current warnings
  • No, I don't think they are better than the current warnings.
  • Yes, I think the new warnings will be more effective.
  • Yes, I think the new warnings will be much more effective.
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Jonathan Foulds, PhD responded:
Here is the link to the Whitehouse press conference launching the new warnings. Its quite good.
 
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marvin68 responded:
I agree this is a step forward, but why aren't people as worried about drinking and all the teenage drinking that goes on. Does this not matter? So many people are killed every year because of drunk drivers, so why are we not seeing the pictures of good livers versus bad livers on beer packages. This is starting to get a little out of hand. Sports players ae supoosed to be heros for some of our children well frankly I don't want that person to be hero if they are seen on beer commercials. Commericals show sexy people on beaches with Corana. This should be just as uneceptable as tabacco. I guess this is okay you can not kill yourself because YOU CHOOSE TO SMOKE, but go ahead and DRINK then go DRIVE and KILL SOMEONE ELSE. We need to stop both of these issues and we are not.
 
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nyxie replied to marvin68's response:
It doesn't bother me. I will continue to smoke as I please.
 
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chaffin45 responded:
It's fine trying to get people to stop smoking. Why are we only after smokers though. Why not try this same kind of warning on alcohol labels? Not only for the health risks posed to the drinker but also the risk they pose to innocent people when they drive drunk. Show them what their organs look like when diseased, show them what an accident scene looks like, show them pictures of their victims on life support or on a table in the morgue. I know there are ads on t.v. that show this, just as there are ads on t.v. concerning smoking. So if we are going to put graphic labels on cigarette packs, let's do the same for alcohol labels.
 
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missgenna responded:
Clearly the FDA doesn't have any smokers working for them. I personally don't smoke. I also think it is a horrible habit. But marrying someone who gave it up, I know how much he struggled. I know how much our friends struggle. This is just another case where the government is too involved in our lives.
 
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SheenaMax replied to chaffin45's response:
Not only that, but how about on food labels as well? 2/3rds of the nation's population are overweight and/or obese. Eating excessively or eating the wrong kinds of food can do as much, if not more damage, than alcohol, tobacco or drugs can. I say everything in moderation.
 
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moutojj responded:
Where does it stop? Should we put pictures of obese people on your McDonald's fries container? Should we put pictures of shriveled up women on tanning beds? Should we put pictures of fat kids in elevators to encourage using stairs? How about putting "Pop-Up" pictures that show up at high speeds on your speed ometer of people that have been killed in vehicle crashes due to speeding?

The fact is that we all have been educated about the effects of tobacco products. Everyone knows that they are addictive, cause cancer, and that 2nd hand smoke can hurt those around us. But if we go down this road of making people feel bad for buying things they like, WHERE DOES IT STOP?
 
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PowrTobaccoCessationCenter responded:
Your point about smoking and pregnancy is spot on. The facts are:

Smoking in pregnancy accounts for an estimated 20 to 30 percent of low-birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and some 10 percent of all infant deaths. Even apparently healthy, full-term babies of smokers have been found to be born with narrowed airways and reduced lung function.

Neonatal health-care costs attributable to maternal smoking in the U.S. have been estimated at $366 million per year, or $704 per maternal smoker.
Nicotine is an addictive drug, which when inhaled in cigarette smoke reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body intravenously. Smokers not only become physically addicted to nicotine; they also link smoking with many social activities, making smoking a difficult habit to break.

Quitting smoking often requires multiple attempts. Using counseling or medication alone increases the chance of a quit attempt being successful; the combination of both is even more effective.



Your state has a toll-free telephone quitline. Call 1—800—QUIT—NOW (1—800—784—8669) to get one-on-one help with quitting, support and coping strategies, and referrals to resources and local cessation programs. The toll-free number routes callers to state-run quitlines, which provide free cessation assistance and resource information to all tobacco users in the United States. This initiative was created by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Healthcare providers and tobacco users in New York's Lower Hudson Valley region, specifically, should contact POW'R Tobacco Cessation Center ( www.powrcessationcenter.org ), a grant program of the American Lung Association of the Northeast and funded by the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Control Program (NYTCP). POW'R provides on-site evidence-based tobacco cessation training to healthcare providers using clinical guidelines to assist them in helping patients to quit smoking. We also provide outreach services, materials and resources for tobacco users.








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