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Smoking kills, and the FDA wants you to know it
Agency proposes cigarette packages include graphic warning images
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Comment on the proposed rule

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment through Jan. 11 on the proposed requirement of adding color graphics on cigarette packages and in advertisements.

Click here 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 comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

 

See all of the FDA’s proposed graphics that may be placed on cigarette packages and in advertisements.

Although she describes herself as pretty "open-minded," Brandy James says she wouldn't buy products that feature a corpse on their labels.

"That's just gross," said James, a 20-year-old Gainesville resident. "I mean, come on. Nobody wants to see a dead person when they buy stuff from the store."

James' sentiments are exactly what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is hoping for with its proposed changes to cigarette packages and advertisements.

Last year, Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which requires that "cigarette packages and advertisements have larger and more visible health warnings."

The FDA is proposing to do that with color graphics depicting the negative effects of smoking. Among the proposed graphics is a corpse in a casket and a man holding a cigarette with smoke coming out of a hole in his throat.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, tobacco is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the U.S.

The goal of changing the advertising and packaging is to ultimately "help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting."

In a local effort to urge tobacco users to kick their habit, a group of area businesses and organizations came together last week for a Great American Smokeout demonstration.

Organizers lined Downey Street, near Northeast Georgia Medical Center, with 1,200 pairs of shoes, a representation the number of people who die nationwide everyday from tobacco-related illnesses.

"I think what they're doing is nice, but at this point, I think everyone knows that smoking is bad for you," said Van Davis, a 34-year-old Dawsonville resident. "If people want to smoke, they're gonna smoke."

The graphic images also would include text warnings like "cigarettes are addictive, tobacco smoke can harm your children and cigarettes cause cancer."

The FDA is proposing the new warnings take up at least half of the upper portion of the front and back panels of cigarette packages. For advertisements, the FDA wants the warnings to consume at least 20 percent of the ad.

"Sometimes you just have to beat people over the head with information," said Laura Morten, a 30-year-old Gainesville resident. "Even though we're older, adults act like kids at times, so you have to repeat things over and over - even things that are really obvious."

The FDA is now accepting comments on the proposed rule changes. Interested parties have until Jan. 11 to comment.

The FDA must make a final ruling on the changes by June 22.

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