U.S. PIRG commends FDA on its proposed graphic warnings for cigarettes, urges increased action on e-cigarettes as a major health threat

Media Contacts
Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG


 WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration proposed a rule today that would require new warnings for cigarette packages that depict the health risks of smoking. Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, claiming roughly 480,000 lives annually. The new graphic warnings would help educate the public about the toll of cigarette smoking on their health and the health of their loved ones. 

Although the FDA’s proposed rule on graphic warnings for cigarettes is a step forward to curb smoking, the agency has not appropriately addressed the relatively new threat of e-cigarette use among America’s youth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that the skyrocketing rate of e-cigarette use among young people has “erased past progress in reducing youth tobacco product use.” 

Matt Wellington, U.S. PIRG’s End the Nicotine Trap Campaign Director, issued the following statement in response to the FDA’s proposed rule: 

“The FDA’s proposal to require new health warnings on cigarette packages is an important step forward to reduce smoking. Now it’s time for the agency to take similarly bold action to address the youth vaping epidemic, which is hooking a generation of kids on nicotine and opening a potential gateway to cigarette smoking.”

“The health risks of e-cigarette use to young people include impaired brain development and an increased likelihood of eventually smoking traditional cigarettes. New health effects are also emerging everyday, including recent reports of seizures and lung damage potentially connected to vaping. 

“First and foremost, the FDA should prohibit all flavored tobacco products, including mint and menthol. The FDA should also put stringent restrictions on the marketing of e-cigarettes to ensure companies don’t target youth.” 

“Without bold actions now to reign in e-cigarette use among America’s youth, we will fail to protect a generation of kids from the hard struggle of nicotine addiction.”