The face of the cigarette box is about to see some dramatic changes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced new packaging and cigarette advertising regulations that will go into effect in September 2012. These new health warnings use images and text that more closely reflect the real health hazards of tobacco use and are required to fill 50 percent of the packaging. The new warnings are the first changes made to cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and will more accurately communicate the dangers of smoking. The goals of the new warnings are to:
• increase awareness of the specific health risks associated with smoking, such as death, addiction, lung disease, cancer, stroke and heart disease;
• encourage smokers to quit; and
• empower youth to say no to tobacco.
Cleveland Clinic has also set its own employee health standards by banning tobacco use from Cleveland Clinic property, declining to hire tobacco users and offering tobacco cessation programs to current employees. While regulation plays a part in building a culture of health, the real solution lies in clear communication, simple information and making healthy choices easier and more available.