Washington, D.C., Aug. 24, 2012 — American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments on today’s ruling by the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit against the use of tobacco warning labels:
“With today’s decision, the judges have thrown out one of the best tools we have to force smokers to face the consequences of their choice, and stop the industry from addicting a new generation. The court has, in effect, insulted the intelligence of all Americans by implying we cannot distinguish the meaning of graphic tobacco warning labels.
As the Surgeon General reported recently, the decline in smoking is stalled, and more young Americans are using tobacco products. Each of the 1,200 Americans who die from tobacco-related diseases every day are being replaced by two smokers under the age of 26. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that 45.3 million adult Americans smoked cigarettes. In the U.S., about one-third of smoking-related deaths are linked to heart disease and stroke.
Graphic tobacco labels would help us stop this tragic trajectory. Research indicates that these vivid images are very effective in heightening awareness about the dangers of smoking and halting tobacco use.
Smoking kills. The gravity of that statement is often dismissed until we are confronted with the terrible effects of tobacco addiction. The American Heart Association sincerely hopes this decision is overturned on appeal, so we can move closer to making our nation 100 percent smoke free.”