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    Tobacco Warning Signs May Be NYC Requirement

    A September Board of Health vote will decide if New York City tobacco retailers will have to display graphic images of blackened lungs and mouth cancer.

    NEW YORK -- The New York Health Department is proposing city tobacco retailers post signs with graphic images such as cancer-ravaged throats and black lungs in an effort to discourage smoking, according to health officials and as reported in Newsday.com.

    The signs would be the first of their kind in this country, and would include health risk warnings and information on how to quit, said Sarah Perl, assistant commissioner of the city's Bureau of Tobacco Control.

    "You're going to see what a blackened lung looks like; you're going to see what mouth cancer looks like; you're going to see what it looks like when you have throat cancer," Perl told Newsday. "[Customers are] going to have to think, 'Do I really want to pay 10 bucks for mouth cancer?'"

    The city Board of Health will hold hearings and vote in September on the proposal. Officials expect opposition from many of the city's 12,000 tobacco retailers and the cigarette industry.

    Jim Calvin, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores (NYACS), said a new law giving the Food and Drug Administration more tobacco control is sufficient. "I'm not sure we would be eager to give up additional wall space and advertising space for posters and signs and images," said Calvin, whose group represents 7,700 stores statewide.

    President Barack Obama signed a law Monday allowing the FDA to regulate the amount of nicotine in tobacco products; restrict advertising; ban flavored cigarettes; and prohibit "light" and "low tar" labeling.

    The Health Department said its proposal is aimed mainly at adult smokers and would complement the new federal law.

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