SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The FDA has proposed a rule to require cigarette health warnings to be placed on cigarette packages.
Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society, Shana Crews, said these changes would show people the negative health consequences of smoking.
"Tobacco accounts for over half a million deaths in the United States each year," Crews said.
While people may assume consumers know about the harm of smoking, there are a number of lesser0known risks people may not be aware of, like diabetes and blindness.
"It's the truth," Crews said. "Tobacco use leads to very scary health outcomes."
Health warnings first appeared on cigarette packing in 1966 and were most recently updated in 1984. This would be the most significant change to cigarette labels in 35 years.
"The warnings that are currently on cigarette packages are pretty stale," Crews said. "We want to make sure people understand what it really means when it says it causes harm."
The proposed 13 warnings would feature realistic color images placed on cigarette boxes.
"Research shows those images and texts are some of the most effective tools to help people understand the impact cigarettes can have on their health," Crews said.
Crews hopes this change will help people understand the full scope of negative health effects caused by smoking.
"This is a deadly product," Crews said. "It has been proven to be deadly, and we need to make sure consumers are using that as part of their thought process before buying."
New cigarette health warnings, once finalized, would appear prominently on cigarette packages and in advertisements, occupying the top 50 percent of the area of the front and rear panels of cigarette packages. The warnings would be required to appear on packages and in advertisements 15 months after a final rule is issued.