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Cigarette packages will soon receive an extreme makeover. The Food and Drug Administration announced today that cigarette companies will be required to cover roughly half of each package with images and text depicting the dangers of smoking. Similarly, the top 20% of cigarette ads must feature the warning labels.
Currently, about 46 million Americans smoke cigarettes, as do 19.5% of high school students. While the number of smokers has dropped dramatically since 1970, recent declines have been minimal, despite rising cigarette costs. Tobacco use is responsbile for about 443,000 deaths annually.
The ruling goes into effect on September 22, 2011, after which manufacturers will have one month to sell off their existing stock of packages with the current written warning.
You can see prospective package images at the FDA website, but be forewarned – a few of the candidates may put you off your next meal, much less make you think twice about reaching for a smoke.