One of the letters I wrote on behalf of the American Heart Association, which can be found in the Santa Monica Daily Press:
The American Heart Association (AHA) is deeply disappointed with a federal judge’s ruling which blocks the Food and Drug Administration’s implementation of new graphic warning labels on cigarette packs and calls for the Justice Department to appeal the court decision.
Graphic warning labels are already in place in many other countries and research has shown that they are powerful and effective tools to encourage smokers to quit and discourage smoking initiation.
In the United States, about one-third of smoking-related deaths are linked to heart disease and stroke. Cigarette smoking causes about 443,000 premature deaths each year and 49,000 of these deaths are due to secondhand smoke.
As President of the AHA – Greater Los Angeles Division and a cardiothoracic surgeon who has seen so many lives devastated by the health hazards caused by smoking, I firmly believe that the graphic depictions of smoking-related diseases on cigarette packages will drive home the message that tobacco use is an equal opportunity killer, affecting smokers and non-smokers alike.
Kathy Magliato, MD, MBA, FACS
Board President, American Heart Association-Greater Los Angeles Division
Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Director of Women’s Cardiac Services, Saint John’s Health Center