Cigarette Packs to Get Graphic Government Warning Labels in 2012

Like New York City's gross "salt, sugar and soda will kill you" ads, but more disgusting, the FDA has decided upon a set of graphics and short phrases that will adorn all packs of cigarettes beginning next year. Rotting teeth, a tracheotomy hole, dirty lungs and suffering babies are among the images that will accompany warnings like, "Smoking can kill you," "Cigarettes cause cancer," and, "Smoking can harm your children." These things are about to get ugly; Williamsburg Camels they're not.

The government selected nine images from a pool of 36, which will occupy the top-half, front and back, of packs made after September 2012, along with 20 percent of cigarette ads, the New York Times reports.

Big tobacco is threatening lawsuits, "saying the images would unfairly hurt their property and free-speech rights by obscuring their brand names in retail displays, demonizing the companies and stigmatizing smokers."

Similar pack-obscuring scare tactics are used in Canada and Europe, and unspecific "market research" shows the warnings "cut smoking rates by grabbing the attention of adolescents and making smokers more likely to quit."

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Cigarettes will likely still look cool after they come out of the pack.

[jcoscarelli@villagevoice.com / @joecoscarelli]


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