It is a fact that smoking kills. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that the adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for an estimated 443,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, every year in the United States, more deaths are caused every year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined, smoking is the cause of an estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women, and an estimated 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking. Anti-smoking groups are therefore pushing for an appeal to allow graphic cigarette labels.
Alicia Gallego has reported for American Medical News “Tobacco control groups push for appeal to allow graphic cigarette labels.” The Obama administration is being encouraged by health organizations to fight a federal court decision which blocks graphic warning labels from appearing on cigarette packages. On February 29 Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declared unconstitutional the Food and Drug Administration’s rule mandating the new images, which include pictures of a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole and a dead person with a surgery-scarred chest. The images were supposed to begin appearing on packages in September.
The American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society along with others have called the ruling a threat to public health and have asked the Justice Department to appeal the decision as soon as possible. The association said in a statement “We strongly disagree with the judge’s conclusion that the new graphic warnings are neither factual nor accurate. The facts are clear and indisputable that cigarette smoking is addictive, harms children, causes fatal lung disease, cancer, strokes and heart disease, and can kill you.” The Justice Department and the FDA have declined to comment on the ruling or discuss the case’s next step.
The FDA had released the text and graphic health warnings in June 2011, saying tobacco companies should prepare to place them on all cigarette packs, cartons and advertisements beginning in September 2012. These warnings were part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which became law in 2009. The FDA said the purpose of the labels was to cut the nation’s tobacco use and prevent others from starting to smoke. And so at this time the type of anti-smoking labels the FDA has wanted to use remains as contentious issue.
Mandel News Service