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OK, We’ve all seen the latest warning label news from the FDA. Cigarette smokers have plummeted to 20% of the population, but recently the rate of quitting flatlined. The FDA and CDC want a new get-tough policy on warnings. The new cigarette package labels, mandated for use very soon, will show up to 10 different and very grizzly pictures. The one on the left compares normal lungs with a smoker’s lungs.
This image was taken just this afternoon from the government FDA web page, which suddenly seems to be out of order.
Other images will include autopsied corpses, rotted teeth, and other gruesome photos. The object is aversion therapy and a severely graphic warning to new smokers. The old labels, last I saw, merely informed us bluntly that the Surgeon General has determined that cigarette smoking will kill you.
Notice that the new warnings are in glorious full color. Not the first thing you want to see in the morning when you wake up with a horrible hangover and reach for that pack of smokes. These are not printed in a small black font on the side of the pack. They are to be printed on the front and back sides. The upper half of the packs is now essentially U.S. government property, and manufacturers cannot hide or alter that. They get to figure out what to do with their branding logos on the bottom half of each side of the pack.
Consumer reaction is already a hot topic. Many non-smokers will of course bestow their approval on anything that discourages smoking, even if it demeans and humiliates. What’s interesting is that a lot of the reactions come from veteran smokers. One woman, who recently lost her own mother to cancer, has smoked for 40 years and still does. I believe her feeling was that she’d like to make up her own mind, thank you very much.
I quit cigarettes with my late partner Bob in June 2000. He died of lung cancer five years later. I still don’t touch cigarettes (I do smoke a pipe) and never will again. I can’t minimize the dangers of smoking of any kind (including pipes). But this latest government action strikes me as way over the top. I’m predicting an enormous backlash. Hint to retailers: I’m also predicting a huge boost in the sale of old-fashioned silver cigarette cases and those waterproof plastic smoke boxes.
But wait, there’s more. What about automobiles, another huge killer? Can’t we have mandatory pictures of corpses and decapitated heads silk-screened onto car doors (driver and passenger sides)?
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