FDA Wants to Scare People Out of Smoking
Feet hanging out from a hospital gurney with a toe tag,
a woman holding a toddler who is inside a cloud of smoke she appears to have
exhaled, another kid with an oxygen mask: these are some of the images being
proposed for cigarette packs and ads by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) in the nation’s quest to protect smokers and non-smokers alike from the
dangers of tobacco use.
The agency came up with the images along with written
warnings as mandated by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
The legislation requires the agency to issue final regulations requiring the
use of the graphics by June of next year with the warning and graphics to appear
on packs and ads 15 months later.
The act requires that the graphic warnings
appear on the upper portion of the front and rear panels of every cigarette
pack and make up at least half of the panels. The same warnings and graphics
need to take up at least 20 percent of every ad.
“Today, FDA takes a crucial step toward reducing the tremendous toll
of illness and death caused by tobacco use by proposing to dramatically change
how cigarette packages and advertising look in this country,” FDA Commissioner
Margaret Hamburg said in a news release. “The health consequences of smoking
will be obvious every time someone picks up a pack of cigarettes.”
companies are clearly not happy about the the prospects of distressed children
or cadavers taking up half of every cigarette pack, according to an Associated
Press/CBS News report. A suit has been filed by R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard
and others who argue that putting brand names on the bottom portion of packages
will make it “difficult, if not impossible, to see.”
Discussion Questions: Do you approve of the government’s new regulations
to discourage tobacco use? Will this program help achieve that goal? Do the
tobacco companies have a legitimate gripe? Given the graphic warnings, should
retailers continue to sell the products?
- Proposed Cigarette Product Warning Labels – U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Cigarette Packs to Show Corpses, Cancer Patients – The Associated Press/CBS