BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo smoking cessation researchers today applauded federal plans to require cigarette packs and ads to carry bigger, much more prominent and graphic health warnings, including images of the destruction to the lungs caused by tobacco, which must cover half of a cigarette pack. In announcing the initiative, the Health and Human Services Department called the new warnings “the most significant change in more than 25 years” in cigarette packages and advertising.
Gary Giovino, PhD, professor and chair of UB’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, is an expert in the patterns, consequences and control of tobacco use. He says of the new ruling: “Our research has shown that tobacco consumers in America are woefully under-informed about the health consequences of cigarette smoking, due in part to inadequate warning labels, health education campaigns and, more importantly, to tobacco industry marketing practices.
“This step, if done properly, will improve the situation greatly and should be applauded. But it won’t correct all the damage that already has been done.”
Giovino’s colleague and fellow researcher Lynn Kozlowski, PhD, dean of the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, also applauded the plan for new warning labels.
“It is about time,” he said. “We have not been a world leader in informing our citizens about the dangers of tobacco use.”
According to Kozlowski, basic tobacco control measures — safety labeling, making cigarettes more expensive, reducing the places where smoking is allowed and counter-marketing strategies — are critically needed around the world and in the U.S., and should be increasing, not decreasing.
Giovino has extensive experience in cancer research, prevention and public health. He spent 10 years as an epidemiologist in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Smoking and Health, and served as senior epidemiologist in the agency’s Epidemiology Branch.
He is investigator or coinvestigator on major smoking-related grants funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and is a member of the Analysis Review Committee of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey, among other tobacco-related organizations.
Kozlowski is an international expert on smoking cessation. He has published more than 100 papers on cessation and related tobacco issues. He is the former head of the Toronto-based Addiction Research Foundation’s Biobehavioral Research on Tobacco Use Unit.
Need additional expert sources? Go to the University at Buffalo’s “experts blog” at http://newstips.buffalo.edu.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB’s more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.