Horrifying Images on Cigarette Packs May Reduce Tobacco Use
Federal authorities hope the graphic pictures will turn off smokers.
An unprecedented campaign introduced by the federal government is designed to reduce smoking, or to prevent people starting, through an untried method: fear and horror.
The federal Food and Drug Administration said it plans to add nine images to cigarette packages, along with phrases, including “Smoking is addictive.” And “Cigarettes cause cancer.” The image and text would take up almost the entire package. The pictures proposed by the FDA are graphic and frightening. One shows a man smoking through a hole in his throat, presumably after getting a tracheotomy. Another shows a dying, fragile woman in a hospital bed, exhausted and bald from chemotherapy.
The rule, which would require tobacco manufacturers to place the warning on all cigarettes, will go into effect next September.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, with an estimated 443,000 people dying each year and 8.6 million more suffering some kind of tobacco-related disease. The CDC also estimated that the cost of treating people afflicted with smoking-related diseases in $96 billion per year.
Although smoking in the U.S. has declined over the years, there are still between 40 million and 47 million Americans who use tobacco, experts say. Health authorities are also concerned about the appeal of tobacco to younger people, who may feel they will never get cancer or are unaware of just how serious it can be.
That theory seemed to be borne out by a number of on-the-street interviews conducted by NBC. The interviews, which appeared on The Today Show, showed a young man saying that he would stop smoking once he started coughing up blood. Unfortunately, by that time the deadly disease of lung cancer has probably started its fatal progression. (fda)
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.