See The Grisly Warning Labels Coming To Cigarette Packs

Illustration for article titled See The Grisly Warning Labels Coming To Cigarette Packs

Many of us are starting to forget what it was like when restaurants had smoking sections and lighting up in all bars was always acceptable. Now you can expect to have a talk with your kids about the time before cigarette packs were covered in disturbing images.

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Today the FDA announced its nine picks for the new photo warning labels that will appear on all packs produced after September 2012. The New York Times reports that the images must cover the upper half of the front and back of the pack, and take up 20% of all cigarette advertisements.

Illustration for article titled See The Grisly Warning Labels Coming To Cigarette Packs
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Thirty six potential warning labels were released in December following landmark legislation that gave the FDA power to regulate tobacco. In the past few months the government surveyed 18,000 Americans on which labels would be most effective. The ones selected are some of the more graphic options, though we're a bit surprised that the FDA passed up several shots of dead bodies and moms blowing smoke in kids' faces for the bearded man showing off his "I QUIT" shirt.

Illustration for article titled See The Grisly Warning Labels Coming To Cigarette Packs

Naturally, the four biggest tobacco companies are threatening legal action. They say the rule infringes on their property and free-speech rights, and argued in a submission to the FDA that the images are "nonfactual and controversial." Controversial, sure, but haven't we established that "cigarettes cause cancer" and "smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby"?

This is the biggest change to cigarette warning labels in 25 years, and health advocacy groups are praising the new plan. The government estimates that the images will push 213,000 Americans to quit smoking in 2013. However, it seems likely that many smokers will just add theses images to the list of PSAs and warning labels they're already ignoring.

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U.S. Released Graphic Images To Deter Smokers [NYT]
27 Cigarette Warning Labels Nixed By The FDA [CBS News]

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DISCUSSION

ZemarSea-Urchin
ZemarSea-Urchin

We've had these labels in Canada for quite awhile now. When they were first introduced most smokers made jokes and some of the images were disturbing. The best was the impotent pic, a little ciggie with the ashes curving downward. By now though people have adjusted and barely notice the picture.

I will say the one thing that got people to quit was the increase in price. I think the taxes on smokes goes up once or twice a year. At this point a large pack (25) of cigarettes cost close to $10. Another reason, I've found among acquaintances/random strangers/friends, is age. Once people reach a certain age (it appears) they attempt the process of quitting.

The reality is, for smokers, cigarettes are addictive and pictures aren't going to turn that addiction off. A person has to have the desire and drive to quit. I tried quitting a while back and I am back to it again. It ain't easy, and picture on a pack of smokes is going to make it any easier to do so.

I don't know for certain if it works on new/young smokers. Especially because in this neck of the words, all convenience stores must have covered shelves where ciggies are sold (out of sight out of mind) so that young people won't see the labels anyway. I would assume that the commercials and ads (gov't sponsored) on tv, and price would prevent new smokers from lighting up.