Center for Communications, Health and the Environment
Spring 2011Vol. 6, Issue 1
Targeted Anti-Tobacco Programs, Policy and Media Messages Expected to Save Millions Worldwide

New WHO Report Projects Hope and Help in Global Tobacco Offensive

What if we could save the lives of more than 5 million people every year?

We can...Simply by reducing tobacco use, which takes that many annually worldwide.

So emphasizes the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2011, the third in a series of periodic World Health Organization (WHO) assessments on the status of the global tobacco scourge and measures to curtail it.

Subtitled “Warning about the dangers of tobacco,” the report posits that tobacco knows – and shows – no mercy.  The world’s most lethal consumer product, it was responsible for 100 million preventable deaths during the 20th century, WHO asserts; and left unheeded, it could kill up to 1 billion people worldwide over the course of the 21st.

[See Full Lead Article]


New Graphic Warnings Could Have
Impact - IF Enacted

In what a June 2011 USA Today labeled “the most sweeping anti-tobacco effort since the surgeon general's warning became mandatory on cigarette packaging in 1965,” the United States may require graphic health warnings to appear prominently on every cigarette pack and cigarette advertisement across the nation. 

Developed as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a national strategy to eliminate tobacco-related death and disease, the new cigarette warnings include nine hard-hitting images of corpses, cancer-ridden lungs and rotting gums designed to prevent children from lighting up, encourage adult users to quit and enhance awareness of the dangers of smoking.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible for the pictorial labels, states that the images were selected based on “their ability to effectively communicate the health risks of smoking,” and after reviewing relevant scientific literature, more than 1,700 public comments and results from an 18,000 person study.

The new graphic health warnings are supposed to go into effect in September 2012.  At that time, all cigarettes for sale or distribution in America are to be manufactured or advertised with the warnings covering the top 50 percent of both the front and back panels of each cigarette package and at least 20 percent of the area of each cigarette advertisement.  The proposed timeline faces indefinite delays, however, due to legal action by a number of cigarette companies; and now it is unclear when – or even if – the new warning labels will debut. 

[See Full Spotlight Article]

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