Bigger, Bolder and More Effective

June 20, 2011


Tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will announce its nine final choices for large, graphic health warning labels for cigarette packs that are required by the new law granting the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco products. The new warnings represent the most significant change in U.S. cigarette warnings since they were first required in 1965.

FDA will choose from the 36 warnings unveiled in November.

The large, graphic warnings will be impossible to miss and represent a dramatic advance over existing text warnings. The current warnings are more than 25 years old, go unnoticed on the side of cigarette packs and fail to effectively communicate the serious health risks of smoking.

They must be on cigarette packs no later than September, 2012.

The evidence that warning labels work is solid and extensive. Studies around the world have repeatedly shown that large, pictorial warning are most effective at informing consumers about the health risks of smoking, discouraging nonsmokers from starting to smoke, motivating smokers to quit and boosting the likelihood of success in quitting.  

This is something to Tweet about!

Join Dr. Howard Koh, the Assistant Secretary for Health at HHS, and Dr. Lawrence Deyton, Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, at the FDA for a Twitter Town Hall Tuesday at 2:30 pm.  To participate, follow them at and tag your questions with #cigwarnings.