Friday, November 12, 2010

Public comment needed now on new graphic warnings for cigarettes

Health Activists - make a REAL, tangible difference today:

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act) mandates that new larger and more visible, graphic warnings are to be used on cigarette packaging. The FDA answered this by proposing a new rule called Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements, which would result in nine new warning messages complete with full color graphic images emphasizing the damage that cigarette smoke does to the health of those who come into contact with it. Here are a few of the examples:

WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer
WARNING: Smoking is addictive
WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease
WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby
The FDA has until June 2011 to finalize the regulations, and the new packaging rules will take effect 15 weeks later.

The proposed rule would result in these graphics being placed in the upper 50% portion of each container, both front and back.

What do you think of the new proposed rules? What were your reactions when you viewed the graphics? Do you think they are too extreme - too graphic and detailed? Would you change anything?

The FDA needs to hear what you think on this proposed rule from Friday November 12, 2010 through Tuesday, January 11, 2011. Now is your chance to do something very quick, very easy, and very tangible with your health activism by choosing one of the methods presented below. According to the official government website, here's how:

1. Go to and insert docket number FDA-2010-N-0568 into the “search” box and follow the prompts.

2. Send a fax, with your comments, to 301-827-6870.

3. 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.

Be sure that all comments are identified by Docket ID No. FDA-2010-N-0568. You only need to choose one method to send your comments. I highly recommend No. 3 for highest impact, but when time is limited, No. 1 offers the easiest and quickest method. At the time of this writing, the docket was not yet live, but it should be starting November 12, so don't delay!

Yes, it is that easy, you really can make a difference in just a few moments time.

When you're done, don't forget to:

*Share this on Twitter or Facebook
*Email this to friends and family
Comment by Amy K on November 13, 2010 at 10:24pm
Wow, Ellen, did you look at the pdf with all of the images that go with these warnings? Some of them are quite graphic and disturbing. I honestly don't know how to react. I am all for awareness and letting people know about the health risks of smoking, but some of these images push the limit for me a bit. I'm not sure why. I am a non-smoker (I did smoke previously, many years ago) and I want people to understand the reality of what the health risks are... but I am put off by some of the images, like, it makes me feel ill. While I try to sort out my own feelings, I am happy that you brought this to our attention and gave us this easy way to share our voices. I definitely appreciate the opportunity to voice my opinion and make a difference!
Comment by Amy K on November 13, 2010 at 10:27pm
I see now that you were asking for input about the graphics and that you must have looked at them. I would love to hear your thoughts on them if you want to share. I am upset by them, it's definitely a scare tactic, and although it drives the messages home, it feels as if some of the images cross some imaginary line. Confused.
Comment by Ellen S on November 13, 2010 at 10:40pm
Amy, I am with you in that parts of me are really torn about this. On one hand, cancer is graphic. Hurting your baby is a graphic reality. Hurting those around you is also a reality, and turning our heads doesn't make the brutal reality any different. That being said, I can't help but think that the pictures on those cigarette packages might be one way to get people NOT to buy them. Can you imagine walking around carrying a pack of cigarettes and pulling one out from a package that has one of those graphics printed on them? It would sure make me stop and think twice before buying one. Which one should I pick? Which one doesn't make me look like an awful person for smoking them?

So, all that seems good on the outside, but what about kids watching their parents pulling cigarettes from these packages? What are we doing to them as they watch their loved ones ignoring those warnings?

Just because those are the realities of smoking, does that mean it's okay to use them to
scare people straight'?

I'm not a fan of scare tactics, but on the other hand, it is reality. Putting our heads in the sand isn't going to change that reality.

Like you, I'm confused how I feel. I'm really curious how others think when they see those images. Is it okay to scare people into quitting smoking?

Oh, for one... I sure see the old cigarette cases of the 1920's thru the 1960's gaining great popularity again...
Comment by Ellen S on November 13, 2010 at 10:43pm
*oops* I should have mentioned that I am now and have always been a non-smoker. I'm highly allergic to cigarette smoke. I also watched my grandfather die from emphysema when I was 10. I definitely have an opinion about smoking and second hand smoke etc. So, maybe that colors my opinion on the graphics? Hmmm.
Comment by Amy K on November 13, 2010 at 10:57pm
I think we all will have some kind of emotional response to the graphics. I grew up in a home with smokers until my very late teens. I didn't like being trapped in smoke and I am certain that it caused some health issues for me. I was told I am allergic to smoke as well, but that was so long ago, I don't recall the details (I was a child). I watched my grandmother die of lung cancer, she was a non-smoker, but no matter, it was awful. But still, for several years, I smoked, because once I started I was hooked. Thank goodness I have been rid of it now for many years.

I can't imagine how dreadful it would be to see your parents ignore a label such as the ones proposed here. It may be a very brutal reality, but I think these images qualify as a scare tactic to me. On the other hand, maybe young teens won't pick up the habit if they have to look at a corpse every time they pull a cigarette out of its package. Ugh. Our world feels like it is filled with bad or worse options anymore, we have to pick the lesser of two evils... which will it be? Still debating here.

And yes, I can see how those fancy cigarette cases could make quite a comeback with labels like this. Then what kind of good will the labels be doing, they will be in the trash? Ugh.
Comment by leejcaroll on November 13, 2010 at 11:28pm
Thanks for the links and info. I am a non smoker, grew up with all smokers, who had very difficult time quitting. I found some of the graphics confusing in that a man in coffin for instance or the cemetary could be relating to many things not smoking, per se. The one with bad teeth and sore reminded me of a meth ad that is out and again not specific to smoking. Some I felt, doc looking at xray for instance, were too neutral appearing. I felt that many would be appropriate and for me were not too graphic.
Thanks for this and I will let my folks at womeninpainawareness know about it.
Comment by Ellen S on November 13, 2010 at 11:50pm
Thanks so much Lee. I sure would be interested to see what they think about them. Why don't you write us back with a link to your discussion?!

No comments: