Reporting Dr. Maria Simbra
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — New cigarette labels are meant to disturb.
“It’s pretty intense, to be honest with you,” admits John Segers of Dormont. “You hear about all these things growing up and your parents tell you about it and all that, but seeing an actual picture of it really does make you think.”
The Food and Drug Administration is requiring that packaging come with graphic images of diseased lungs, someone using a breathing mask, a man smoking through a hole in his throat and even dead people. Nine pictures in all were unveiled by the FDA.
These come with warnings – secondhand smoke is dangerous, smoking causes deadly disease and cigarettes are addictive.
“I think they could have been a little more graphic to hit the mark with me,” says Debra Best of West Mifflin.
The government hopes the new packaging will discourage children from smoking or at least get them to think.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 calls for warnings in large type over the top half of the label and graphic images showing the consequences of smoking.
“When you think about the kinds of pictures and things and the top of the pack now will be a graphic warning, it really reduces that sex appeal and allure that there was with tobacco packaging in the past,” says Cindy Thomas of Tobacco Free Allegheny.
“They show you these pictures at school, health class, you see the picture of the lungs. You learn at a very young age that it’s not good for you to do, but it doesn’t stop you from doing it,” points out Jamie Bucek of the cigarette shop, Smoke Friendly.
Cigarette shop owners aren’t necessarily worried about the debut of the labels in October of 2012. Some think it might actually be good for business.
“I honestly think it kind of could be a collector’s item, like how many different pictures can you get on your cigarette packages,” says Bucek.