The new cigarette package labels are out, and they’re not pretty. Federal health officials today released the nine warning labels that will cover the top half of all cigarette packages manufactured after September 2012, and they include graphic photographs of damaged teeth and lungs and an autopsied body as well as simple warnings like, “Smoking can kill you.” The new labels mark the first major change to cigarette warning labels in more than 25 years, the New York Times reports.
Of course, tobacco manufacturers are not happy about the new warnings, which will also appear on 20% of cigarette advertisements; all four leading tobacco companies are threatening legal action on the basis that their property and free speech rights are being unfairly damaged, in part because the images will obscure their brand names. The Department of Health and Human Services hopes the new labels, which are the result of recent landmark anti-smoking legislation allowing the FDA to regulate tobacco, will encourage smokers to quit and stop children from picking up the habit. Click for one columnist who doesn’t think this “gross” strategy works. (Read more anti-smoking stories.)