AUGUSTA, Ga. – “Cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death, disability, and disease in the United States,” says Christine O’Meara/ Community Outreach Coordinator at GA Cancer Center:
Cigarette boxes let’s you know how deadly these sticks are, but it can easily be dismissed from its small text.
It’s been 35 years since the labels have been changed, but now 13 graphic images of the risks of smoking will be in plain sight. The FDA is using this as an opportunity to educate.
“The FDA and researchers have found that there’s a gap in knowledge between what people believe in around the health consequences of smoking and the actual health consequences. So the purpose of the images of the graphics and the new labeling on cigarettes is to bring to the forefront the health consequences of smoking,” says Christine O’Meara.
These images will show health risks of smoking like different cancers, amputated toes, birth defects, blindness, and other lesser-known risks.
“People who smoke have approximately 10 years shorter lifespan than people that don’t smoke. And those 7,000 toxins in cigarettes, 70 of which we know cause cancer get filtered through blood. They also get filtered through the kidneys,” says Christine O’Meara.
Christine O’meara says Richmond County has one of the highest rates of smoking in Georgia.
She believes change starts with our youth and the labels will be helpful in discouraging them from adding this habit to their lifestyle.
“Children even before they can read, they can synthesis pictures, and so I think that will be helpful in raising awareness,” says Christine O’Meara.
The FDA will have the final versions of the labels by next March. If you smoke or know anyone who smokes, you can start a Cessation program or even get free lung screening at the Georgia cancer center.
More information on program registration: https://www.augustahealth.org/georgia-cancer-center/patient-experience/tobacco/tobacco-cessation-program
More information on free lung screening: https://www.augustahealth.org/georgia-cancer-center/types-of-cancers-we-treat/free-lung-cancer-screening/free-lung-cancer-screening