Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Smoking Cessation Health Center

Font Size

FDA Unveils Grim Cigarette Warning Labels

Cigarette Packages Will Soon Include Graphic Images of the Effects of Smoking
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Vertical display of five cigarette warning labelsJune 21, 2011 -- Graphic images such as lifeless bodies, surgical scars, and diseased lungs are among nine new warning labels unveiled by the FDA that the agency says must appear on all cigarette packaging and advertisements by September 2012.

The FDA says in a statement on its web site that the warnings, a new effort to get people to quit smoking, represent the most significant changes to cigarette labels in more than 25 years and will affect everything from packaging to advertisements.

The agency says all Americans understand the dangers of smoking and the new labels are intended to prevent children from starting and induce smokers to quit.

One image shows a dead man with a surgical wound on his chest. Another picture shows a close-up of a person's mouth full of brown, rotting teeth and a lip with an open sore. Still another picture depicts a man with a breathing apparatus over his mouth and nose. And another image shows a sick baby, crying in an incubator.

Written Warnings

Each grim image is accompanied by written warnings such as "cigarettes cause cancer," "smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby," "cigarettes are addictive," and "tobacco smoke can harm your children."

The warnings, first proposed in November 2010, were required under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2009.

The FDA chose the nine images to be used from 36 that were originally proposed.

Come September 2012, all cigarettes manufactured for sale or distribution in the U.S. must include the new graphic images and warnings on packaging.

The FDA says the warnings are expected to have a significant impact on public health by decreasing the number of smokers, which it says will result in lives saved, increased life expectancy, and better health.

Encouraging Smokers to Quit

"President Obama is committed to protecting our nation's children and the American people from the dangers of tobacco use," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says in the FDA news release. "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."

Today on WebMD

hands breaking a cigarette
Is quitting cold turkey an effective method?
14 tips to get you through the first hard days.
smoking man
Surprising impacts of tobacco on the body.
cigarette smoke
What happens when you kick the habit?

Filtered cigarettes
an array of e cigarettes
human heart
Woman experiencing withdrawal symptoms

man smoking cigarette
no smoking sign
Woman ashing cigarette in ashtray
chain watch