More than twice the number of people called an anti-smoking hotline last week after a series of graphic ads depicting horrifying consequences of cigarette use hit billboards, newspapers, magazines, radios and televisions across the country. The ads are part of the first public service campaign the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ever undertaken to fight smoking. The new public service campaign will cost about $54 million in its first year – about what the tobacco industry pays in one day to promote its products.
The ads show people who have suffered larynegectomies, limb loss, paralysis and cancer from smoking cigarettes. The campaign was launched just a week after a federal judge formally blocked new rules by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requiring tobacco firms to put graphic images on packages of cigarettes.
Despite the setback, the FDA continues to put pressure on tobacco companies. The agency will begin requiring tobacco companies to report the amount of unsafe chemicals in their products. The FDA released a list of 93 chemicals that tobacco makers will have to report the quantity of in their products. By doing this the FDA hopes to educate consumers on the types of ingredients that are in cigarettes – including ammonia and formaldehyde.
The agency also is requiring tobacco companies prove that products labeled as a “safer alternative” to cigarettes, such as snuff, have scientific evidence to back up those claims.
The actions by the FDA are part of a 2009 law giving the agency the authority to regulate tobacco products.