NEW YORK - Diseased lungs, dead bodies, a man on a ventilator and mothers blowing smoke in their children's faces are among the images U.S. health officials are considering in their effort to revamp tobacco warning labels.
The "graphic health warnings," unveiled Wednesday, aim to depict the negative effects of smoking, and they will be required on all cigarette packages in 2012.
More prominent warnings on cigarette packages, including larger text labels, were included in a June 2009 law putting the multibillion-dollar tobacco industry under the control of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The law calls for cigarette packages and advertisements to include new warning statements in large type covering half of the front and back of each package and graphic images showing adverse health effects from smoking.
"When the rule takes effect, the health consequences of smoking will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes," FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg said in a statement. "This is a concrete example of how FDA's new responsibilities for tobacco product regulation can benefit the public's health."
The FDA will accept comments on its proposal until Jan. 9. In June, the agency will choose nine graphic images from the 36 it has proposed. Cigarette companies will have to include the new warning labels by October 2012.
The Dow Jones tobacco index, whose components include Altria Group, Lorillard and Reynolds American , was down 0.6 percent in morning trading.
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