Michelle Eakin, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the FDA issued its proposal for graphic warnings on cigarettes, a long overdue step says the American Thoracic Society (ATS) in curbing the adverse health effects associated with smoking.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by October 15. The FDA is required to issue a final rule by March 15, 2020.

The ATS strongly supports effective graphic warning labels on tobacco products. But to effectively combat tobacco use in the U.S., a multi-pronged approach that includes a ban on all characterizing flavors in all tobacco products – including menthol — must be adopted.

Studies from around the world show that tobacco graphic warnings increase the awareness of tobacco harms, encourage smokers to quit, and prevent youth from starting to smoke.

The current cigarette warnings in the U.S. do not include graphic warnings, despite evidence of their effectiveness, and have not been updated since 1984.

ATS strongly supports requiring effective graphic warning labels on tobacco products.

Expediting graphic tobacco health warnings will protect youth and reduce death from tobacco, the leading cause of preventable death.

“While there are other important actions Congress and the FDA must take to address tobacco, including regulation of flavors and effective regulation of e-cigarettes, moving forward with graphic warning labels will have a big impact on reducing youth tobacco use,” said Dr. Eakin, chair of the ATS Tobacco Action Committee.

About the American Thoracic Society — Founded in 1905, the American Thoracic Society is the world’s leading medical association dedicated to advancing pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. The Society’s more than 16,000 members prevent and fight respiratory disease around the globe through research, education, patient care and advocacy.

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