FDA issues graphic cigarette labels - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

FDA issues graphic cigarette labels

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Rotting teeth. Diseased lungs. A corpse of a smoker. Nine new warning labels featuring graphic images that convey the dangers of smoking will be required by the Food and Drug Administration to be on U.S. cigarette packs by 2012. Other images include a man with a tracheotomy smoking and a mother holding a baby with smoke swirling around them. The labels will include phrases like "Smoking can kill you" and "Cigarettes cause cancer."

The labels, which the FDA released Tuesday, are a part of the most significant change to U.S. cigarette packs in 25 years. They're aimed at curbing tobacco use, which is responsible for about 443,000 deaths in the U.S. a year. The labels will take up the top half - both front and back - of a pack of cigarettes and each will include a national quit smoking hotline number.

Warning labels also must appear in advertisements and constitute 20 percent of an ad. Cigarette makers have until the fall of 2012 to comply.

"These kind of graphic warning labels strengthen the understanding of people about the health risks of smoking," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We clearly have to renew a national conversation around these issues and enhance awareness."

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