According to Joy Schmitz, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Texas medical school in Houston, the intended message will more likely reach younger adults, or those who may have just picked up the habit.
"It might give them pause for concern or contemplation as to their choice of smoking when they see the pretty dramatic scene on the packages," said Schmitz.
But evidence suggests effective messages not only communicate the danger but also offer ways to help change behavior, said Edgar.
"There's none of that here," said Edgar, who suggested the campaign should also offer direct actions for people to take to quit smoking.
"Simply showing someone that there is a severe outcome or they're personally responsible is not enough. They need to know there's something they can do about it," he said.
"It needs to be combined with the anti-smoking policies, restricting smoking in the environment, as well as promoting effective evidence-based smoking cessation treatments that are available," she said.
The FDA will accept public comment on the proposed labels through January 2011, and will select nine to use by June 2011. The agency will then require all manufacturers to use the labels on all U.S. sold cigarettes by October 22, 2012.