Doc Supports Graphic Cigarette Warnings


Images of diseased lungs, cancer patients and corpses will soon be printed on cigarette packs and one local doctor said that might be an effective way to children from smoking.

The FDA is planning to use explicit warnings because, while the numbers of smokers have dropped off dramatically in 40 years, the decline has stalled.

Dr. Edward Salerno, a pulmonologist at Hartford Hospital, said the average age for children in Connecticut to start smoking is 11.

“The game has to be stepped up a little bit, and I think going toward more graphic images is probably a good idea and hopefully will detract these kids in starting to smoke,” Dr. Salerno said.

However, some parents said they wouldn't want those images to cross the line.

“I wouldn't want to have overly -- like a horror movie or something -- but to show what a damaged lung looks like so people can see what it really is,” John Sembrakis, of West Hartford, said.

The warning labels printed on packs now take up a small portion of each pack of cigarettes, but the new warning labels could take up an entire half of a pack of cigarettes.

The labels will also includes phrases like, "Smoking can kill you."

Over the years, state's including Connecticut have raised cigarette prices in an effort to get people to quit.

Carol Pawlina, of West Hartford, said that didn't work and neither will this.

“People have seen it,” Pawlina said of graphic images. “It's not gonna make a difference.”

Thirty-six labels will be up for public comment. The final ones will be chosen in June after several studies.

Some tobacco companies are challenging the legality of the new labels.

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