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FDA proposes explicit cigarette warning labels

A proposed warning label for cigarette packages, seen on FDA's website. (FDA)

November 10, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The Food and Drug Administration is proposing new warning labels that include explicit messages and graphic images, such as cancer patients and corpses.It's an attempt by the federal government to cut the use of tobacco by nearly half over the next 10 years.

Smokers interviewed Wednesday said virtually the same thing: Warning labels will not prevent them from lighting up.

Annie Shepherd has been smoking for years. She knows the risks, adding that it's her decision to enjoy cigarettes.

"Understand the risk, but you also have to understand the air you breathe, it can cause cancer. Everything out here can cause cancer, so no one knows how they're going," said Shepherd.

By 2012, the warning labels on packs of cigarettes will be direct and to the point: "Cigarettes cause cancer." "Cigarettes can cause strokes and heart disease." "Smoking can kill you."

"For the first time ever, they will say the tobacco products are addictive. And they will say, in the bluntest of terms, that tobacco can kill," said FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. "Every single pack of cigarettes in our country will, in effect, become a mini-billboard that tells the truth about smoking."

The goal, according to the federal government, is to cut tobacco use from 20 percent of the country's population down to 12 percent by 2020.

Cigarette companies will reportedly go along with the new labeling.

But will it really curb tobacco use?

"I don't think so at all," said Glendale resident Rita Thomassian. "Because people, when they smoke, they can smoke at any time, regardless of what the label's going to say, even when the prices went up."

"Hopefully with the new bold print and everything and such, it should keep people [from smoking]," said L.A. resident Steve Chriss.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks has recently proposed an extensive ban on smoking in L.A.


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