Gross-out cigarette labels drive spike in quit-line calls

Photos of corpse and rotten teeth may already be impacting smokers

The new gross-out cigarette warning labels may already be having the intended effect: Calls to a national smoker’s quit line more than doubled the day the graphic warnings were unveiled to the public.

Nine new labels feature disturbing images of dead bodies, diseased lungs, a weeping woman, a man on a ventilator and mouthful of rotten teeth.

The photos won’t appear on cigarettes until next year, but and other media outlets shared these shocking images last Tuesday .

Calls to 1-800-QUIT-NOW smoking cessation line surpassed 4,800 last Tuesday and 3,200 on Wednesday. A typical Tuesday or Wednesday in June sees about 2,000 calls, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The new labels replace the traditional “Surgeon General’s Warning” text strips with stark color  photographs that cover the entire top half of each cigarette pack. They also carry the 1-800-QUIT-NOW number and warnings like “Smoking can kill you.”

The FDA estimates the new labels will reduce the number of smokers by 213,000 in 2013, with smaller additional reductions through 2031.

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