If you're a smoker then expect to see some changes soon on the pack of cigarettes you pick up at the store.
Starting next September, the Food and Drug Administration will require large graphic cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States.
The images will mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years.
For many smokers lighting up is an everyday habit. Something so routine many probably don't think twice when picking up another pack of cigarettes at the store. But the FDA and American Cancer Society are hoping that's about to change in September of 2012 when these graphic images will be required on every single pack of cigarettes.
"What they want to do is have nine graphic images along with statements about the harmful effects of smoking," Deb Murray said.
Deb Murray is a respiratory therapist and the certified tobacco cessation expert at the Avera Heart Hospital. She says these new warnings are shocking. And that's exactly that they should be.
"The shock factor. We are in a visual world and this just adds the visual factor of what smoking can do," Murray said.
The images graphically show the health risks associated with smoking, such as lung disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and even death. These will be the first warning label changes in 25 years. And with the number of Americans lighting up basically unchanged in the past few years, many health experts are hoping these warnings will be just the thing to shake things up.
"The American Cancer Society hopes these vivid images will spark the conversation again and make them think about the harmful effects smoking can cause," Murray said.
Health experts like Deb say it's a way smokers can literally stare down their addiction. Facing what could be a head for them if they continue to smoke. And hopefully Deb says these pictures will speak to kids and empower them to say no to lighting up.
"When I'm talking with people who are trying to quit they ask for pictures so it may help. One thing I hope is young adults to make them stop and think," Murray said.