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Would You Believe These Cigarette Labels? Would You Believe These Cigarette Labels?

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Would You Believe These Cigarette Labels?


New cigarette warning labels will include wording and photos, such as this one, that drive home the health risks of smoking.(U.S. Food and Drug Administration)

Cigarette makers would have to admit that they lied and that they spiked their products to make them more addictive and would have to spell out how deadly tobacco in the proposed “corrective statements” offered by a government scientist that were unsealed in federal court.

Judge Gladys Kessler of the District Court for the District of Columbia, who is overseeing the skirmish with Big Tobacco, ordered the new report unsealed on Wednesday. It included statements that could run alongside some of the graphic pictures that will go on cigarette packs and in newspaper and magazine ads – a measure ordered by Kessler in 2006 as part of a judgment in which she said the companies had lied for 50 years.


The tobacco companies, which will have a chance to offer their own proposed wording for the court-mandated statements, had wanted to keep the government proposals secret until then The judge declined their request.

Kelly Blake, a National Cancer Institute expert on health-behavior communication, came up with the statements in the report after doing several studies with volunteers to see which wording would be the most effective. Below are some of Blake’s proposed statements.

“We told Congress under oath that we believed nicotine is not addictive. We told you that smoking is not an addiction and all it takes to quit is willpower. Here’s the truth:

  • Smoking is very addictive. And it’s not easy to quit.
  • We manipulated cigarettes to make them more addictive.
  • When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain—that’s why quitting is so hard.

“We falsely marketed low tar and light cigarettes as less harmful than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking and sustain our profits. We knew that many smokers switch to low tar and light cigarettes rather than quitting because they believe low tar and lights are less harmful. They are NOT. Here’s the truth:

  • Just because lights and low tar cigarettes feel smoother, that doesn’t mean they are any better for you.
  • Light cigarettes can deliver the same amounts of tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes.

 “For decades, we denied that we controlled the level of nicotine delivered in cigarettes. Here’s the truth:

  • Cigarettes are a finely-tuned nicotine delivery device designed to addict people.
  • We control nicotine delivery to create and sustain smokers’ addiction, because that’s how we keep customers coming back.
  • We also add chemicals, such as ammonia, to enhance the impact of nicotine and make cigarettes taste less harsh.
  • When you smoke, the nicotine actually changes the brain—that’s why quitting is so hard.
  • Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke has been proven to cause premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.

“Paid for by [Cigarette Manufacturer Name] under order of a Federal District Court.”




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