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New warning label for cigarettes causes outrage

Wow - I cannot believe that it's 2010 and we are still having the argument about the effects of cigarette smoking on personal health.    Last week was the 35th annual Great American Smokeout. It also coincided with an FDA release which proposed 36 new labels for cigarette packages. In 2009 the federal government mandated that by July of 2011, the FDA and Department of Health and Human Services develop new labels which will be more graphic and larger than current warnings. The tobacco industry will then have 15 months to implement the plan. The new labels will occupy one-half of the front and back of the pack. Some of the images are - well - a little disturbing, as perhaps they should be. Check out this link from the Huffington Post  link . Gross huh? Some quick stats: 46 million adults still currently smoke which is about 20% of the adult population. About 20% of high school students smoke and smoking is responsible for about 443,000 deaths a year. During my research bouncing around the web I came to realize that there is a significant portion of the 20% smokers who have also experienced severe brain damage. Their grammar, syntax and spelling are very deceiving, since you would think that anyone with enough intelligence to string together several paragraphs of good print is also rational. Not so. Many of the diatribes go on to talk the right wing jargon of the day - "more government control", "denial of first amendment rights" (that's a real rich one) and, here's the best one, "no proof that there is any connection between lung cancer and cigarettes". And, here's one more, "pretty soon the government will require warnings on fast food like the 'big Mac'". The FDA is mandated by law, which has been around a lot longer than Barrack Obama, to regulate the food and drug industry, which includes placing warnings on products that contain drugs and harmful additives. The American Heart Association has said that nicotine is one of the hardest addictions to break. The only real question is, why did it take so long for them to do it?    . We all have friends and family who smoke and we are all concerned about the long term effect of this powerful drug on their health, but let's be completely honest - why should non-smokers have to carry the health care cost of those 443,000 people who died last year from smoking related sickness? Sometimes I can be a bit too jaundiced - the good news is that we have made great progress over the last 40 years. I guess adults should be allowed to control their own fate, but what about that 20% figure for high school students? Let's work on that one. Dennis F Feeley

1 Comment

The soft-sell approach by the American Heart Association, the Ad Council, and others has been effective. I for one still remember the "Like father, like son?" commercial from 1967:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmzDLzqQ-A0
But today's audience needs a stronger message. The new ads to go on cigarette packages are gruesome, but hopefully it will wake up smokers to try and quit before they are another statistic for lung cancer and heart disease.

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