• FDA To Require Warnings On Cigarettes
  • A cigarettes online retailer is questioning the government’s plan to shock his customers into not buying their smokes even while health care professionals say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s plan to require more graphic health warnings and graphic images on cigarette packaging and advertisements will save lives.

    “It’s another form of Big Daddy trying to tell people what to do,” said Frank Williams of Gulfport, who owns three Smokey’s Discount Tobacco stores in Harrison County. “They’re just trying to tell people how to live their life.”

    A little more than a year from now, the FDA, as directed by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the U.S.

    It’s the first change in cigarette warnings in a quarter century. It’s also a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking cigarettes, the FDA says.

    Williams does not agree.

    While the FDA says these new warnings will decrease the number of smokers in America and save lives, increase life expectancy and lower medical costs, Williams believes it’s government trying to legislate morality that is focused on telling the American people how to live and raise their families.

    “I think people should have the right to live their life the way they choose to, not to have someone tell them what to do,” he said. “Everyone has a little bad in their life. It’s a matter of someone’s opinion.”

    According to the FDA, buy cigarette online use claims almost half a million lives each year in the U.S., making it the leading cause of premature and preventable death.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said 30 percent of all cancer deaths are due to tobacco. Daily, 1,200 current and former smokers die prematurely from tobacco-related diseases.

    “Every day, almost 4,000 youth try a cigarette for the first time and 1,000 youth become regular, daily smokers,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

    The nine graphic images -- which include a baby shrouded in smoke, an autopsied cadaver, a smile of discolored teeth and blackened, diseased lungs -- are part of a broader strategy to help tobacco users quit and prevent young people from starting. The intent of the FDA is to show the negative health consequences of smoking cigarettes every time someone picks up a pack of cheap cigarette online or views a cigarette advertisement.