A new study suggests that the delay in rule making for graphic warning labels on cigarettes causes harm.

WASHINGTON — Researchers published a new study in the academic journal JAMA Health Forum claiming that harms to human health are clearly evident if the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t finalize new policies that mandate graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging sold in the United States market.

Rafael Meza, a professor of epidemiology and global public health at the University of Michigan, said in a press statement to industry publication Health Day.

“The evidence is out there from multiple countries that suggests these graphic health warnings do work as intended,” Dr Meza said in the statement. “If we had been able to implement this regulation back in 2012, many more lives could have been saved. This work shows the cost of industry litigation and procedures to delay implementation of tobacco regulations.”

Researchers involved with the study are also affiliated with other institutions that look in depth at tobacco harm reduction interventions and policies. This includes Jamie Tam of the Yale School of Public Health and James F. Thrasher of the University of South Carolina.

According to the study’s findings, the lack of graphic warnings on cigarettes is confounding to observers with respect to the market jurisdiction in the US. The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and several public health agencies attached to national governments mandate graphic labeling on cigarette packages. These include European Union member-states, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, among other countries.

“This decision analytical model estimated that FDA cigarette graphic health warnings, if implemented in 2022, would be associated with public health benefits. The model also estimated that more smoking-attributable deaths would have been averted if the policy had been implemented in 2012. Industry litigation and delays to implementing tobacco regulations may have been harmful for public health,” the study argues.

Vaping Post has previously reported that the FDA is currently entrenched with legal proceedings brought by tobacco companies claiming that they need more time begin printing graphic labels on their brand packaging. The FDA is mandated under the Tobacco Control Act to implement regulations dealing with packaging.

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Michael McGrady is a columnist for Vaping Post's English edition. He is a critically acclaimed journalist with awards and recognition from across the industry. He was a finalist for ECigClick's annual vape awards in 2019 and 2020, a KAC Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Fellow in 2019, among other honours. He is also the host of Vaping Weekly, the Post's podcast. All articles express his own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the Editor's view.