By: Brett Tucker
New anti-smoking labels meant to be more graphic and stronger deterrents to smoking have not been well received by anti-smoking advocates. These new labels were designed by the FDA after strong petitioning by anti-smoking groups such as Truth which said that the Surgeon General Warnings on the side of cigarette boxes did not do enough to warn potential smokers of the risks. The new graphic warnings, however, which as soon as next year will be stamped onto all cigarette packs sold in the United States, are, frankly, not enough. Many of the graphics are abstract and uninteresting, and wouldn’t scare anyone that doesn’t have an irrational fear of breathing apparatuses. Others are stark cartoons which don’t mean much of anything to anybody, smoker or no. Others are plain irrelevant.
The FDA said they are prepared to choose nine of the 36 graphics made and start slapping them on cigarette packs starting next year. However, with the overwhelming unpopularity of the ads, it is unsure if they will have enough public support to go through with any of them.
Other countries, such as Canada or Malaysia, have very strong anti-smoking campaigns which show cancer ridden mouth and gums, lungs, and throats. In fact, in Canada, it is law that instead of the Cigarette companies’ name and artwork, they must have a graphic label printed on over half of the front of the box.
So why didn’t the FDA take more serious measures? It is hard to say, and one can only speculate, but it is easy to see that they failed to attain their goal to make more serious, more provocative anti-smoking labels, and it is doubtful that these half-measures will be effective in deterring potential smokers from starting, and even less effective in getting current smokers to quit.