Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Is that abstract art or a diseased lung?

No later than Oct 22, 2012, all cigarette packages must carry a new graphic on their packaging and in advertising.  The graphics will be of such things as a person smoking with smoke coming out of a hole in their throat or a corpse with their chest stitched up.  These new warnings will help "in protecting our children and the health of the American public.” (HHS)

It's not enough that we have education in schools telling children the dangers.  It's not enough that we have a Sin Tax on cigarettes to dissuade people from smoking.  It's not enough that there are currently warnings on cigarette packages stating things like "Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy."

Yes, smoking is dumb.  Yes, smoking makes your breath and clothes smell awful.  Yes, smoking kills people.  But as long as these adults are smoking of their own accord and it doesn't affect others, including children, there should be no laws or taxes to prevent or dissuade them from doing so.

Just one more step down the path of a police state.  Someone doesn't like that you do something they deem offensive, so they do everything legal to get you to stop.  What is the next one?  Photos of auto accidents on alcohol containers?  Cheese packages with photos of clogged arteries?

If people don't know that smoking is bad for you already, looking at a picture of a dying patient won't stop them from picking up the filthy stuff.  They smoke because they want to smoke or because they are addicted.  If they are addicted, and want to stop, they can seek help.  There are plenty of programs around to help smokers quit the disgusting habit (CDC).

Update: Last night as I was reading an Entertainment Weekly magazine, I came across an ad for USA Gold cigarettes (tagline: Your Spirit.  Your Smoke.).  How many children and teenagers will see the forthcoming ads with graphic depictions of dying and dead people?  Is this something you want your child to see?  These won't be 'movie corpses'.  These are real people.

Cigarette Packages in U.S. to Carry Images of Dead Bodies, Diseased Lungs (Bloomberg)

Proposed Cigarette Product Warning Labels (FDA)

Lots of good comments here:  Cigarette Warnings Go Gruesome: Did the Health Police Go Too Far?
Previous post on Sin Tax

Update: I did not realize other countries have photos on their cigarette packaging already. Cigarette Warning Labels: Brazil's More Shocking than Ours (CBSNews)

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