Graphic Health Warnings for Smokers
29 September 2008

Cigarette packets are having a makeover next month - adding graphic warnings of the damage they can do to the body.

The department of health has confirmed that the UK will be the first country in the EU to introduce graphic picture warnings on all tobacco products. These warnings "illustrate the devastating effects that tobacco can have", and are aimed at getting the UK’s 10 million smokers to quit.

From October 1, pictures of rotting teeth and lungs, throat cancer, and a "flaccid cigarette" will replace the current written warnings.

Despite a drop in smoking since the introduction of written warnings in January 2003, it still causes 87,000 premature deaths each year in England alone.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, said: "I welcome the introduction of picture warnings on tobacco product packaging, which show smokers the grim reality of the effects smoking can have on their health.

"This will help to maintain the momentum of the increasing number of people who have given up smoking following England going smoke free in 2007."

Pictures are thought to provide a stronger and more memorable "wake-up call" than words, according to research.

"These new stark picture warnings emphasise the harsh health realities of continuing to smoke," said Sir Liam. "I hope they will make many more think hard about giving up, and get the help they need to stop smoking for good."

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