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New, Gruesome Cigarette Warnings

From Health Day:

Get Ready for Gruesome Cigarette Warnings

By Jennifer Thomas

THURSDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) — Would a gruesome picture of a cancer-ravaged mouth with rotting teeth make you think twice about buying a pack of cigarettes?

That’s the goal of new federal regulations expected to go into effect within three years. The rules will require tobacco companies to cover at least half of the front and back of packages with graphic — and possibly gruesome — images illustrating the dangers of smoking.

If U.S. regulations are modeled after those already in place in Canada and other countries, the warnings will be shocking: blackened lungs, gangrenous feet, bleeding brains and people breathing through tracheotomies.

Though hard to look at, the more graphic the image, the more effective in discouraging smoking, said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and director of the university’s Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education.

"The graphic warnings really work," Glantz said. "They substantially increase the likelihood someone will quit smoking. They substantially decrease the chances a kid will smoke. And they really screw up the ability of the tobacco industry to use the packaging as a marketing tool."

Over the last decade, countries as varied as Canada, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Iran and Singapore, among others, have adopted graphic warnings on tobacco products. Some are downright disturbing: in Brazil, cigarette packages come with pictures of dead babies and a gangrened foot with blackened toes.

In the United States, the authority to force packaging changes was granted on June 22, when President Barack Obama, who has struggled with cigarette addiction since he was a teen, signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The landmark legislation gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration broad new authority to regulate the marketing of tobacco products.

Under the law, the FDA has two years to issue specifics about the new graphic warnings tobacco products will be required to carry. Tobacco companies then have 18 months to get them onto packages.

Currently, the United States has some of the weakest requirements for cigarette package warnings in the world, said David Hammond, an assistant professor in the department of health studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The text-only warnings on packages have changed little since 1984.

"Consumers in many Third World countries are getting more and better information about the risks of cigarettes off their packs," Hammond said.

With much at stake for tobacco companies, there will be much wrangling over the details, Glantz said.

Yet research shows the FDA shouldn’t compromise, Glantz said. The more frightening the image, the greater the anti-smoking effect, he said.

Despite some research that has suggested images that are too stomach-turning may backfire because people eventually ignore them, new research is showing the most graphic images pack the most punch, said Jeremy Kees, an assistant professor of marketing at Villanova University.

In a yet-to-be published study, Kees had 541 adult smokers in the United States and Canada view a mild image of a smoker’s mouth with yellowed teeth; a moderately graphic image of a diseased mouth; and a third photo of a grotesque, disfigured mouth.

The most disturbing photo evoked the most fear, prompting more smokers to say they intended to quit, Kees said.

While the new regulations may also include no-nonsense, text warnings such as "Smoking Makes You Impotent" and "Smoking Kills," the images will have the broadest reach, Hammond said.

Non-English speakers can understand the picture of a diseased mouth, as can people who are illiterate. Smokers tend to have lower literacy levels, Hammond noted.

And kids will get the message too, potentially stopping them from ever lighting up. "You have 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds who can understand that picture," Hammond said.

Elsewhere, graphic warnings seem to be helping to drive down smoking rates. In Canada, about 13 percent of the population smokes daily, a 5 percent drop since the graphic warnings were adopted in 2000, Hammond said.

About 21 percent of the U.S. population smokes daily, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While powerful, the gruesome warnings won’t get everyone to quit.

"Nicotine is highly addictive," Hammond said. "Health warnings are not a magic bullet, but they help move people closer to quitting and provide a constant reminder of why many people want to change."

Mind you, these are the same people who object to photographs that show the end results of abortions.

By the way, Mr. Hitler wanted to put warnings on cigarettes, too.

From Nerin Gun’s book, Eva Braun: Hitler’s Mistress:

[Hitler’s] great fixation, however, was about the mortal danger that result from smoking. “Before going into retirement,” he informed Eva’s sister, “I shall order that all the cigarette packets on sale my Europe should have on the label, in letters of fire, the slogan ‘Danger, tobacco smoke kills; danger: Cancer!”

There really is nothing new under the sun.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 27th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “New, Gruesome Cigarette Warnings”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    When they get everyone off cigarettes what will be their new tax base seeing they killed the Golden Goat?
    If they tax the crap out of condoms, do you think it will stop people from having safe sex? (or sex all together?)

    This is what they ought to do with Nobama Care. Now that’s scary!!

  2. wardmama4 says:

    LD – it isn’t happening – look how well Prohibition went – it is just the nanny state attempting to control our lives, again.

    I was going to comment on how these are the exact same people who do not want pregnant women in abortion clinics to see ultrasounds of what their baby looks like at the particular gestational age nor of course those of the result of an abortion – SG you beat me to it. Great minds think alike.

  3. proreason says:

    “Would a gruesome picture of a cancer-ravaged mouth with rotting teeth make you think twice about buying a pack of cigarettes?”

    Good gawd. If that is what they want to put on a pack of cigarettes, what could they possibly have in mind for ballots?

    A few ideas….Auschwitz, the six-miles of crucifictions for Spartacus’ followers, or a Barney Franks smile.

  4. Clarissimus says:

    If cigarettes are so unhealthy they should just make them illegal.

    Warning! This product will kill you! But please buy it anyway; your government is depending on the tax revenue.

  5. curvyred says:

    I am not a smoker – but in my opinion they are either legal or illegal – stop demonizing, and stop using tax revenue from the “evil” smokers to fund S-chip.

    Another clear indication that liberalism is a mental illness – how do you demonize on the one hand and then on the other use the “evil” smokers to fund your socialist perks.

    • pdsand says:

      I quit probably six months ago after dispassionately smoking a few a day for about 5 years. I had my own reasons, certainly none that have ever been addressed by high taxes, warning labels or the Ad campaign. But yeah, I have to say they need to calm their selves down about all this gross nonsense. Either ban it and pat yourselves on the back, or leave it alone and have reasonable taxes.
      It is the height of hypocrisy to state that you want to “encourage” people to quit with high taxes, then go around bragging about the programs you’re going to fund with the new tax money you’re counting on. Or in this case to site an unpublished study for how graphic images encourage less smoking. Who knows what else happened in Canada to make people smoke less since 2000. Maybe they hiked their taxes insane, or maybe all the smokers were eaten by starving polar bears while they were outside smoking.

  6. DW says:

    Who knows what else happened in Canada to make people smoke less since 2000. Maybe they hiked their taxes insane, or maybe all the smokers were eaten by starving polar bears while they were outside smoking.

    Just bought a carton (8 packs of 25 cigs each) today. $82.56. That’s the cheapest place in town (most places they’re around 90 bucks or more). Other provinces are cheaper or more expensive (I’m in Manitoba -also in the north part of the province -which can add to costs).
    Probably, in my opinion, what caused most people in Canada to quit was the banning of smoking indoors in public places such as bars (that’s a biggie) restaurants, some hotels, casinos, arenas, -you name it. Plus, of course the outrageous cost. Also, smokers are held in only slightly higher regard than gun owners or conservatives.
    (and yeah – the polar bears do get a few of us every now and then :-)

    So why don’t I quit? Two reasons:
    A) It’s one of the few things I do well.
    B) When they start demonizing pot smoking even a fraction as much as they do tobacco smoking maybe I’ll become a bit more reasonable. But not before.

    As far as the “art work” goes: Some of the pictures are a mite gross. Most of them are just silly. One shows a guy in (presumably) the last stages of cancer treatment. He has a beard (evidently chemotherapy doesn’t make facial hair fall out…).
    This is 2009. By now, I think most people get it: smoking is bad for you.

    • Colonel1961 says:

      I bought some nice cigars from Canada a while back (you may infer their country of origin) and was rather insulted when the beautiful box they were packaged in was ruined by a vile and graphic warning label. After that, I started getting them from Spain. All that Spain adds is another beautiful tobacco stamp that complements the country of origin stamp…

  7. TwilightZoned says:

    Honestly, our society has become so calloused with all the graphic violence on movies, video games, the internet, etc. I sincerely doubt this will have any effect. Add in the “me generation” and those pictures certainly don’t apply to moi’.

  8. Zilla says:

    Wait a minute.
    You mean smoking is bad for me? You would think someone would have said something before now.

  9. beautyofreason says:

    The more control the government has over health care, the more they treat adult citizens like children, incapable of making informed choices about health. Liberals want to tax junk food, cigarettes, or anything that will make government care more expensive. If health care is rationed they want to cut preventable diseases and force the people to shape up or pay up (or both).

    Socialized medicine, along with the destruction of the private option means that your worth is defined by the government’s budget, like a shiny desk in the office of a bureaucrat = better keep it clean because the nanny wants it that way. Or pay a bribe (the tax).

  10. ilzito guacamolito says:

    I find it beyond ironic, quite frankly, that The One® is foisting ObamaCare on this great nation while he is still an unrepentant smoker AND every other photo op shows him scarfing burgers. His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  11. Wait wait wait!!!! If Cigarettes are made harder to come by, what will we spend when the dollar completely tanks??

  12. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    I quit back in 2000 purely for financial reasons. I always said I’d quit if cigarettes reached $1.00 a pack. Apparently $2.00 a pack was the magic number for me because that’s when I finally did it. Mom and Dad were both non-smokers, as are most of my family, and I didn’t listen to any of them when they told me how bad smoking was for 20+ years. Do you think for a second Reich Chancellor Bobo’s opinion would have mattered one iota to me?

    “Consumers in many Third World countries are getting more and better information about the risks of cigarettes off their packs,” Hammond said.

    Funny, but the last I heard, third world countries and China were the markets where sales were increasing for tobacco companies.

  13. canary says:

    photo of Obama performing a partial-birth abortion might cut down on them, since there is no Attorney General Warnings on health.

  14. the cyber ghost says:

    Viagra free and Far from Hetrosexualy lonely. 25+yr smoker. As has been posted , there’s just to much TAX money in it for them. God they are so full of excrement !!!!

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