WASHINGTON, June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Lung Association heralds the announcement today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its final rule requiring graphic health warning labels on all cigarette packages and advertisements. At long last, starting in the fall of 2012, these large, graphic warning labels will appear on the top 50 percent of the front and back of all cigarette packs – replacing the 25 year-old warnings that are ineffective and hidden on the side of packages.
The American Lung Association is extremely pleased that FDA heeded the recommendations of the Lung Association and so many public health organizations that urged FDA to include 1-800-QUIT-NOW on each graphic warning label. Smokers who want to quit, as a result of seeing these graphic warning labels, need to know who to turn to for the help they need to quit.
Quitting smoking is the single most important step an individual can take to improve their health. Investing in smoking cessation, one of the three most effective prevention services, must be a priority to prevent disease, save lives and curb health costs. The American Lung Association strongly urges the federal government and states to partner to ensure their quitlines have sufficient resources to handle an increase in calls as a result of these new warning labels. No smoker should hear a busy signal or be placed into voicemail when they are finally ready to make the life-saving decision to quit smoking.
This regulation is the result of a very thorough and comprehensive scientific evaluation conducted by the FDA. While the graphic images displayed on the new warning labels may be disturbing to some, the World Health Organization has concluded that "health warnings on tobacco packages increase smokers' awareness of their risk. Use of pictures with graphic depictions of disease and other negative images has greater impact than words alone." Studies have also found graphic images to be effective at deterring children from smoking – the tobacco industry's prime target when seeking new customers for their addictive product.
It will be important for the FDA to ensure the graphic images are regularly rotated to prevent overexposure. FDA must also continue its surveillance and, as required in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, develop new images when these images begin to lose their effectiveness.
The American Lung Association has been successfully helping smokers quit for more than 30 years with its Freedom From Smoking® program, which provides a personalized step-by-step quit plan and is available as a face-to-face program or online (www.ffsonline.org). For assistance with quitting smoking or for additional questions about lung health, please call the American Lung Association's Lung HelpLine at 1-800-548-8252.
About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.LungUSA.org.
SOURCE American Lung Association