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Cigarette-box labels will get a gruesome redesign

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Cigarette box label

Still a proud smoker? Your favorite box just got a rather gruesome makeover. Today, the FDA debuted package warning-labels predicting your horrific future if you continue to smoke, showing images of rotting and diseased gums, a man smoking through his tracheotomy hole, a re-stitched corpse, and a woman crying. (Cigarettes: they ruin your teeth and make unknown women weep.)

The trouble is, the labels, while gross, aren't proven to work. In fact, some would say, they're so hyperbolic that they don't seem real. I'll admit, I kind of felt the same way. (That guy isn't really smoking through a hole in his throat. And if he is, he's nothing like me; he's a crazy person.) You can check out the whole series of ugly new warnings here.

The FDA, however, is certain their labels work. The first smoking regulation came in 1965, when cigarette companies were forced to include the phrase "Cigarettes may be harmful to your health" on packages. Since that year, the number of Americans who smoke has fallen from about forty percent to twenty percent. In 2004, it stopped dropping.

And so the FDA decided to up the ante: more graphic detail; tears, babies, and other things that are major turn-offs. The FDA is so confident their labels will work, they've even provided a "quit smoking hotline number" to aid in the quick conversion.

Labels aside, if you've been thinking about quitting, it seems there's no better time than now. What with these eye-sores on your packs, the soaring cost of cigarettes on U.S. major cities, and New York's recent controversial ban on smoking in parks, where do all the smokers go? Apparently, we should all meet to discuss it over cigarettes, somewhere in South Carolina.