Q&A: New warnings on cigarettes

Ivan Penn, who writes the Consumer's Edge column that appears regularly in the Times, also answers reader questions about consumer issues on our website (www.tampabay.com/news/ business; look for Consumer's Edge heading). We occasionally publish some of those in this space.

New warnings on cigarettes

What kinds of warnings will appear on cigarette packages under the Tobacco Control Act and when will they be added?

The Food and Drug Administration is working to complete the rules for labeling of cigarette packages under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, or simply the Tobacco Control Act. The act requires cigarette packages and advertisements to have larger and more visible graphic health warnings.

The proposed warnings are:

WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive.

WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children.

WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease.

WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer.

WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease.

WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.

WARNING: Smoking can kill you.

WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers.

WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health.

The FDA has opened a public comment period that runs through Jan. 11. The color graphics are required to be in place by June 22, 2011.

For more information, visit www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/CigaretteProduct WarningLabels/ucm2024177.htm.

Scam e-mail is link to malware

An e-mail has been circulating from the "Electronic Federal Tax Payment System." Does the IRS or U.S. Treasury Department send messages via e-mail?

No, the IRS and the Financial Management Service (the U.S. Treasury Department bureau that owns the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System) do not communicate payment information through e-mail, warns Alex Sink, the state's chief financial officer.

Sink recently issued a notice about the scam e-mail, urging consumers not to open the e-mail because "the e-mail then directs recipients to a bogus website containing malicious software (malware) that infects the intended victim's computer."

"To avoid the bogus website and malware, do not click on any links, open any attachments or reply to the sender for any e-mail you may receive that claims to come from EFTPS," Sink says in the warning.

Q&A: New warnings on cigarettes 12/19/10 [Last modified: Sunday, December 19, 2010 3:30am]

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