Oral health and appearance got a powerful advocate recently through the Food & Drug Administration.
Smoking is a horrible habit, and once addicted, horribly difficult to kick. With the unveiling of new graphic cigarette warning labels by the Food & Drug Administration, the agency is hoping to impact smokers with “frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking ,” according to President Obama, who supported the effort.
Cigarette packages will feature vivid color images and warnings that cover the upper portion of the pack on both sides. This is the first change to packages in 25 years. For smokers, it’s a visible reminder that smoking can harm them, harm people around them, including children.
The color images include lips and teeth of an oral cancer victim. Warnings are direct, such as “Cigarettes are addictive”; “Tobacco smoke can harm your children”; “Cigarettes cause cancer”; “Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease”; “Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby”; and “Smoking can kill you.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 443,000 people in the U.S. die from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year. With this move, the United States will be the 40th country to have picture warnings on cigarette packs. Countries such as Canada, Brazil and Australia have long been leaders in tobacco control with graphic art on their packaging for years.
Smoking dries out gum tissues, so it creates havoc of all types in the mouth. When we perform any type of procedure where gum tissue is involved, the healing time of a smoker is far lengthier than that of a non-smoker. Let’s hope these changes to cigarette packages will help some to take the steps needed to kick the habit, for good!