On August 15, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that there will be 13 new required health warnings on cigarette packages. Each warning will be accompanied by graphic colored photos showing the horrible consequences of diseases caused by smoking. The goal is to educate the public about some of the less commonly known diseases caused by smoking such as diabetes and blinding eye diseases. The hope is that these graphic warnings will encourage people to stop smoking or to never begin smoking.
The Family Smoking prevention and Tobacco Control Act
These new health warnings are the most important changes made to cigarette packaging labels in more than 35 years. This new rule will meet a requirement in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This will also add to the important work The FDA is carrying out to promote the health of families in the United States.
Tobacco use is the Leading Cause of Preventable Disease and Death in the United States
According to the FDA, tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Smoking tobacco cigarettes and exposure to secondhand smoke kills about 480,000 Americans every single year. In fact, smoking kills more people each year than alcohol, HIV, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined. Over 16 million Americans live with diseases and disabilities caused by cigarette smoking. Tobacco use also costs more than $300 billion a year in direct health care costs and lost productivity.
Smoking Tobacco Leads to Heart Disease, Emphysema, Stroke and Cancer
Research has shown that tobacco use leads to heart disease, emphysema, stroke and cancer. According to the CDC, smoking tobacco is linked to 12 different kinds of cancer. One of these is bladder cancer and one of the 13 new health warnings on cigarette packaging will deal with bladder cancer. See our blog post from August 1, 2019 about smoking and these diseases.
The 13 New Health Graphic Warnings to be Found on Cigarette Packs
The 13 new health graphic warnings to be found on cigarette packs are:
WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.
WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in non-smokers.
WARNING: Smoking causes head and neck cancer.
WARNING: Smoking causes bladder cancer, which can lead to blood in the urine.
WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy stunts fetal growth.
WARNING: Smoking can cause heart disease and strokes by clogging arteries.
WARNING: Smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that can be fatal.
WARNING: Smoking reduces blood flow, which can cause erectile dysfunction.
WARNING: Smoking causes type 2 diabetes, which raises blood sugar.
WARNING: Smoking reduces blood flow to the limbs, which can require amputation.
WARNING: Smoking causes age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can lead to blindness.
WARNING: Smoking causes cataracts, which can lead to blindness.
Smoking can Harm the Eyes
According to the American Optical Association (AOO), smoking can harm the eyes and lead to blindness. The following eye conditions are made worse by smoking:
Eyes are dry and burning and do not have enough of the right kind of tears. Smoking irritates the eyes more and makes this worse.
Smoking raises the risk to develop cataracts which may lead to surgery. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens of the eye and cause blurred vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
This is a condition brought on by aging that leads to a loss of central vision in the eye. Both smokers and ex-smokers have a higher risk to develop AMD than those who never smoked. Read more about age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in our blog post from February 27, 2019.
Smoking now has been shown to raise the risk for developing diabetes, which can lead to diabetic retinopathy of the eyes. This disease damages the blood vessels in the eyes. This is one of the major causes of blindness in the United States. Read more about diabetic retinopathy in our blog post from January 15, 2019.
Optic nerve problems
The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain and damage to this nerve can cause blindness. Smoking raises the risk for optic nerve damage.
Glaucoma is an eye disease that affects the optic nerve and smoking increases the chance to develop glaucoma.
Smoking can lead to uveitis that causes inflamed, red and swollen eye. This can lead to eye pain and vision problems.
This is a disease caused by over-activity of the thyroid gland and leads to bulging eyes. Smoking makes this disease worse and can lead to vision loss.
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Here are 13 more reasons to quit smoking. Smoking related diseases and deaths are preventable.