US unveils new cigarette warning labels

US unveils new cigarette warning labelsNew York, June 22 : The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has unveiled nine graphic cigarette warning labels that highlight the dangers of smoking.

The warnings are required to be placed on all cigarette packs, cartons and ads no later than September 2012, Xinhua reported citing a statement.

"These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help encourage smokers to quit, and prevent children from smoking," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

"President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation's past, and not our future," she said.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature deaths in the US, responsible for 443,000 deaths each year, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

It costs the economy nearly $200 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity.

These warnings - proposed in November 2010 - were required under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was passed in the US Congress and signed into law by Obama in June 2009.(IANS)