Simple warning escalates to appalling graphics


Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will use those words to dissuade smokers from continuing their habit. On October 12, 2012, the simple warning ‘smoking may be hazardous to your health’ will be magnified by an appalling graphic that will cover as much as half the package. The FDA hopes to reduce the percentage of smokers by using pictures of cancerous lungs, women blowing smoke rings into their babies’ faces, or something similar.

On June 22, 2009, Congress gave more power to the FDA through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, allowing them to regulate tobacco products. Although they cannot ban products such as cigarettes, they can adjust the packaging, intensifying the warning.

According to Mathew L. Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the decisions made by the FDA are “the most significant change in U.S. cigarette warnings since they were first required in 1965.”

According to, “The main focus of the law is to stop cigarette companies from aggressively marketing to children.”

“As a result, they can no longer sell candy-flavored cigarettes, place tobacco logos on sporting, athletic, or entertainment events, on clothing or other promotional items. Also, they cannot place outdoor ads within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.”

Christopher Pollenz, junior, said that younger kids as well as high schoolers can be influenced, and these measures will prevent that. He said that he agrees with the impetus behind the FDA’s efforts. “There are proven health hazards.“

Brandon Baker, junior, said he believes such advertisements can persuade kids to smoke, but it is also important for them to be aware of the consequences smoking can bring.

“You don’t want them to be sheltered,” said Baker, “but you want them to be knowledgeable.”

Some companies are guilty of false advertising, labeling their packages ‘light’ or ‘low-tar,’ but this actually makes no difference to the consumer’s health.

“It does seem kind of deceptive,” said Baker. “If it does have similar affects, why put it on the package?”

While the United States fights to be the first in everything–first in flight, competitive in the space race, advanced in technology–we are late to join the world-wide trend in the new cigarette packaging.

In 2000, Canada became the first country to transform their cigarette warnings into gruesome graphics, followed closely by Brazil in 2002.

“At least 39 countries or jurisdictions have picture warning requirements, and many more are in the process of implementing them,” according to an article about a new report by the Canadian Cancer Society.

Uruguay has the largest warning in the world, covering 80 percent of the package.

Brand names are designed to attract customers, to influence them to purchase a product. Other countries are making an effort to nearly, and in some cases, completely, erase the cigarette company’s logo from the pack. They are trying to make the warning as prominent as possible, to make the product as appear unattractive.

“Yes, it is their choice [to smoke]… but there needs to be limitations,” said Pollenz.

Daniel Floyd, sophomore, said he believes the labels will prevent first-time smokers from purchasing a pack, but it takes a lot more to discourage an addict. Floyd said it’s not possible for them to stop smoking. “[In order to quit], they’ll have to die.”

Tobacco use, according to the federal government, causes 443,000 deaths in the United States each year. It remains the leading cause of premature and preventable death nationwide. (site)

According to an article on, “An estimated 30 percent of all cancer deaths are related to tobacco use, health officials say. In the United States, smokers number 46 million — including 20.6 percent of adults and 19.5 percent of high school students, according to the federal government.”

The government is ready to help the smokers who are struggling to quit. They are ready to protect the young kids, to prevent them from forming a life-threatening habit. Despite the pleasure people gain from smoking, there is still the ultimate side-effect: death.


  1. wow. what a wonderful example those canadians set for the rest of the world. i wonder where the tabacco industry would be today without those helpful friends up north. :).


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