In 1964 the U.S. started the trend to put a warning label on cigarette packs, but now we are behind other countries with one of the smallest, least prominent warnings visible. If the tobacco industry gets its way, the old warning labels will continue. On Monday, November 7, a federal judge blocked implementation on the new, graphic labels that were set to begin in September 2012.
Regulation of the tobacco industry was given to the Food and Drug Administration under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. One part of this federal law was to impose new warnings and labels on tobacco packaging and their advertisements to discourage minors and young adults from smoking.
By blocking the implementation of warning labels, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon went against the 2009 law giving the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. He went against years of overwhelming, scientific evidence about the effectiveness of warning labels. Judge Leon went against evidence from around the world that showed that large, graphic warnings are most effective in educating smokers in the health risks of smoking, discouraging children and nonsmokers from starting to smoke, and encouraging smokers to quit. At least 43 other countries now require large, graphic cigarette warnings. He also went against the tobacco industry’s own admission that the warning labels are factual.
The new warning labels have been ruled on once before. U.S. District Judge Joseph H. McKinley ruled in 2010 that the labels accurately portrayed smoking health risks. He also ruled that the new warning labels were legal because of the government’s interest in alerting the public to the dangers of smoking.
The tobacco industry achieved what it intended to do: stall the implementation of the new graphic warning labels in the court system for years while they spend billions of dollars to promote new tobacco products and glamorize smoking.
There is nothing glamorous about 443,000 people dying in the U.S. everyday from smoking related illnesses. Over 3,000 kids try their first cigarette everyday, and are the replacement smokers big tobacco needs to replace the smokers who have died. Kids don’t understand the risks associated with tobacco, they just want to look cool, be glamorous, or fit in.
The Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Intervention Teacher Training Course teaches educators, guidance counselors, and administrators so they can teach their students the dangers of tobacco. This FREE, online course is available 24/7 and provides up to 60 teacher in-service credits. You must have an active Florida DOE certificate. Check out our site at www.tobaccopreventiontraining.org.
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