Local reaction to new cigarette warning labels
Wed, 10 Nov 2010 22:10:01 GMT —
For the more than 46 million people who still smoke in the U.S. get ready to see something a little different on your pack of cigarettes in the future. The FDA, which regulates tobacco, is going ahead with a plan to redesign the packaging to include graphic pictures to deter smokers.
"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 " said Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner.
The FDA is looking at 3 dozen different labels like "smoking can kill you" and "cigarettes cause cancer" to be partnered with graphics and in some cases, graphic photos to reinforce the negative aspects of smoking.
Dr. James Luce says he thinks it will work as long as the photos don't go overboard.
"Seems that when they tried scare tactics before, it was not effective in fact, it was counter effective. But if they put graphic images...and it's not too gross, I think it might be helpful.
The 34th Street Discount Store, where cigarettes are a major seller, they're not convinced that the new packaging will break old habits.
"If you're already smoking, you know the risks, I think putting it in front of your face is one way, but most people aren't going to pay attention and will just throw them out," said Lacy Bristow.
With more than 443,000 deaths atributted to smoking every year in the U.S., the FDA is hoping to add to the steadily decreasing rate of smoking, now at about 20 percent.
"It's hard to tell what will get people to stop smoking so they need to try and see if it works. If it works, great. If it doesn't, try something different," said Luce.
Bristow believes the money would be more of a deterrent than the new images.
"It'd probably be the cost, more than anything. Maybe the health issues later, or if they have a family member who's gone through the health issues that'd be the biggest impact."
The FDA plans to finalize it's choices this coming June. The new warning labels are to take up half of a pack both front and back. Cigarette makers will then have 15 months to start using the new labels.