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Comic Art, Scary Medical Photos Would Give Cigarette Labels an Edge

Cigarettes could come wrapped in comic book-style artwork and gruesome medical photos if the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed warning labels get adopted.

The proposed graphics – some of the coolest-looking government-sponsored art ever – can be seen above. Each was produced with a variety of type treatments, but this selection shows all the basic imagery, which would be slapped on cigarette cartons as in the FDA mockup at right.

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the graphic warnings a “timely and much-needed shot in the arm” (perhaps riffing on the image above).

“The current warnings are more than 25 years old, go unnoticed on the side of cigarette packs and fail to effectively communicate the serious health risks of smoking,” Myers told ABC News.

Each of the proposed images, rolled out Wednesday by the FDA, would be accompanied by one of nine proposed warning labels:

WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.
WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.
WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.
WARNING: Smoking can kill you.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.
WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

Maybe it’s time for images of cancer patients and corpses to adorn U.S. cigarettes. Boston.com points out that the FDA’s proposed warnings look a lot like labeling on Canadian smokes. CNET notes that Brazil’s Health Ministry got even more graphic with its anti-tobacco campaign.

When would U.S. cigarette packs and advertisements get the new, possibly collectible look? The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act requires the FDA to issue final regulations requiring these color graphics by June 22, 2011, specifying that the requirement for the new health warnings must take effect 15 months after issuance of this final rule, according to the FDA website.

Obviously some of the images are better than others. Which ones are your favorites? Which ones do you hate? And, perhaps most importantly, which – if any – do you think would help cut down on smoking? Let us know in the comments below.

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