All eyes are on New York City this week as the City Council holds a public hearing on three pieces of bold tobacco control legislation that were proposed by either Mayor Bloomberg or City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The proposals focus on tobacco product displays, pricing, and the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products.
But let’s not forget the recent good news from Washington. On April 22, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Big Tobacco against Cincinnati’s court ruling that upheld the requirement for large graphic warnings on cigarette packs, even though the court did not have any specific images for review.
The decision allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to move forward with developing new graphic cigarette warnings that comply with both the 2009 law and recent court rulings. The 2009 law requires graphic warnings that cover the top half of the front and back of cigarette packs and 20 percent of cigarette ads.
Studies and evidence presented to the FDA show that large, graphic warnings are most effective at informing consumers about the health risks of smoking.
The Supreme Court protected the FDA’s powers to regulate the tobacco industry. We hope the FDA moves quickly to find court-acceptable graphic images and provides all the evidence needed to show that graphic images will reduce the number of new or current smokers.
Otherwise, tobacco will continue to addict and kill millions.