* Dead body, diseased lungs among stark images
* Required on cigarette packs and ads by September 2012
* U.S. health secretary aims to keep kids from smoking
(Adds Sebelius comments, WHO figures, other details)
By Deborah Zabarenko
WASHINGTON, June 21 Dead bodies, diseased lungs
and rotting teeth were among the among the graphic images for
revamped U.S. tobacco labels, unveiled on Tuesday by health
officials who hope the warnings will help smokers quit.
The new labels must be on cigarette packages and tobacco
advertisements no later than September 2012, as part of a law
that put the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry under the
control of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
They represent the first change in U.S. cigarette warnings
in 25 years.
"With these warnings, every person who picks up a pack of
cigarettes is going to know exactly what risks they are
taking," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
told reporters at the White House.
The new labels may disturb some, including one with a
photograph of a man smoking a cigarette through a hole in his
throat, and one showing a mouth with discolored teeth and an
Other images stress the dangers of second-hand smoke to
children and show tobacco's causal link to lung disease,
cancer, strokes, heart disease and death.
Sebelius said the goal was to stop children and teenagers
from starting to smoke and to give nicotine-addicted adults an
added incentive to quit, helping push down U.S. smoking levels
that have been stubbornly stagnant in recent years.
"We want kids to understand that smoking is gross not cool
and there is really nothing pretty about having mouth cancer or
making your baby sick if you smoke," she said.
More than 221,000 Americas will be diagnosed with lung
cancer in 2011, accounting for about 14 percent of all U.S.
cancer cases, according to the American Cancer Society. Nearly
157,000 men and women are expected to die from lung cancer this
year in the United States. [ID:nN17283205]
The World Health Organization has repeatedly called for
graphic images of diseased organs and heavily stained teeth on
tobacco packs as a turn-off. But in Europe and elsewhere, young
smokers often buy decorative holders to hide the warning labels
on their cigarette packs.
'SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS'
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
called for cigarette packages to include warning statements in
large type covering half of the front and back of each package
and graphic images showing the health dangers of smoking.
The warnings are also to occupy the top 20 percent of every
tobacco advertisement of companies such as Altria Group Inc's
(MO.N) Philip Morris USA unit, Reynolds American Inc's (RAI.N)
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco unit and Lorillard Inc's LO.N Lorillard
The anti-smoking group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids said
the images were a dramatic change from today's printed warnings
that simply list potential health problems from smoking.
"The current warnings are more than 25 years old, go
unnoticed on the side of cigarette packs and fail to
effectively communicate the serious health risks of smoking,"
the group said.
Tobacco companies take advertising curbs and health warning
rules seriously as possible restrictions on their ability to do
business. R.J. Reynolds, for instance, has challenged the
legality of mandated larger and graphic warnings in a federal
Elsewhere, Philip Morris International (PM.N) has sued
Uruguay over the South American country's anti-smoking rules,
which include large health warnings on cigarette packs and a
ban on tobacco products branded "light." [ID:nN26223337]
The company said that arbitration was meant to challenge
"extreme and ineffective measures that have created an
environment conducive to the black market in cigarettes."
Sebelius, estimating that tobacco costs the U.S. economy
$200 billion a year in medical costs and lost productivity.
Tobacco will kill nearly 6 million people worldwide this
year, including 600,000 non-smokers, the WHO said last month,
estimating the global annual death toll could reach 8 million
by 2030. [ID:nLDE74T0AU]
The Dow Jones tobacco index .DJUSTB, whose components
include Altria, Lorillard and Reynolds American, was down 1
percent on Tuesday afternoon after the images were unveiled.
(Images of the new U.S. labels can be seen here)
(Additional reporting by Laura MacInnis, Alister Bull, JoAnne
Allen and Doina Chiacu in Washington and Jessica Wohl in
Chicago: Editing by Doina Chiacu)