Cigarette makers are now required to add graphic warning labels depicting rotting teeth, a man exhaling smoke through a hole in his neck, and other images to packaging and advertising in the U.S. by October 22, 2012, government officials said Tuesday.
The nine images, which accompany warning labels with messages such as 'Smoking can kill you' and 'Cigarettes cause cancer,' are the biggest change to warning labels in more than 25 years. The change will also put the U.S. closer in-line with 40 other countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
The new in-color labels must occupy the top half of the front and back of a cigarette pack, and 20 percent of an ad's space. Currently, warning labels are contained in a small box with black and white text warning of the dangers of smoking.
The supersize labels are the highest-profile part of an intensified war on tobacco by the federal government, which ranks it as the leading cause of preventable and premature death in the U.S., linked to an estimated 443,000 deaths in a year, The Wall Street Journal reported.