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New tobacco warning labels anything but smooth

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In an effort to curb smoking-related deaths, the Food and Drug Administration is revising cigarette warning labels — on “all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States” — to include such images as cancerous mouths, blackened lungs and even a corpse. The FDA on Tuesday released images of the graphic new warnings, which will start appearing in September 2012.

The gory labels are part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which Congress passed in 2009. The act grants the FDA authority over the industry’s marketing and advertising efforts, prompting R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard Inc., and several other tobacco companies to sue, arguing a violation of free speech rights. The companies argued the law interferes with communication with adult consumers, advertisers and other tobacco companies.

Although a judge later struck down part of the federal law — a section banning the use of color and graphics in labels and advertising — most of the act was upheld, including the requirement for new health warnings.

What do you think of this attempt to deter smoking? Too much? Not enough?

Author: Jacqui Barrineau

Jacqui Barrineau is a writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with husband Trey, a Shetland Sheepdog and two unhelpful-but-funny cats. Her work has appeared in "So to Speak" and "Calliope," and she's a regular contributor to the flash-fiction sites Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Once upon a time, she was the audience engagement editor at USA Today. Now she does other fun things that involve advertising, marketing and social media. The views expressed here and in other outlets are hers, not her clients'. Outside of work, she's proud to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College Marketing Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joins industry leaders in lending their knowledge and expertise to ensure the college's Marketing curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and the surrounding business communities.

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