Requiring cigarette labels that graphically depict the health consequences of smoking could save more than 650,000 lives in the United States in the next 50 years, according to a new study.
The labels also could prevent tens of thousands of preterm births and low birth-weight babies, the researchers said.
They studied the effects of graphic warning labels on smoking rates in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada, HealthDay reports.
Eight years after Canada required the labels, smoking rates fell by 12 to 20 percent, compared with the period before the warnings went into effect.
In the United Kingdom, smoking rates dropped 10 percent the year after the warnings were implemented.
In the journal Tobacco Control, the researchers estimated if the labels were required in the United States, smoking would decline 5 percent in the near term, and drop 10 percent over time.