Senators Urge FDA to Act Quickly to Develop New Tobacco Warning Labels

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging quick action to develop new graphic warning labels for cigarette packages and advertising.  Earlier this week, the FDA and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced they would not appeal a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that vacated an earlier FDA rule requiring the use of graphic cigarette warning labels. 

The Senators urged FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to develop the strongest possible replacement rule on graphic warning labels in order to deter new smokers from taking up the habit and encourage current smokers to quit.

“Big tobacco will use the delay in requiring graphic warning labels to hook more young people onto a deadly habit.  As strong supporters of laws to protect Americans from the dangerous effects of tobacco, we urge FDA to move as quickly as possible to develop and implement a strong new graphic warning labeling rule that will prevent people from picking up this potentially deadly habit and convince current smokers to quit,” the Senators wrote.  

In June 2011, the FDA chose new graphic labels that send a tough message about the dangers of smoking.  The nine health warning labels chosen were scheduled for use on all cigarette packages and advertisements beginning in September 2012.

A copy of today's letter can be found here.