US Government Unveils Graphic Images to Shock Smokers
Health officials in the US have released a selection of graphic images that will feature on cigarette packages. They hope these shocking images of horribly distorted faces and features will de-motivate smokers and force them to quit. Predictably, cigarette makers were up in arms against this radical move.
Health groups welcomed the government tactic and say these terrifying photos will shock smokers and those who wish to start smoking. The disturbing images will also feature on cigarette advertisements. Health experts say the labels are powerful, honest and frank depictions of the dangerous consequences of smoking. Cigarette packs will also be needed to feature a toll-free phone number offering help to quit smoking.
Tobacco Makers’ Opposition
Leading tobacco firms have predictably opposed this radical new plan and allege that it would create repulsion in the public about their legal products. They have threatened legal action. They say these compulsory shocking images suppress their rights to free speech and property. The tobacco lobby also alleges this plan would demonize them and stigmatize the users of their tobacco products.
Stagnating Smoking Rate
This new plan was drafted after legislators gave the Food and Drug Administration full leverage to regulate tobacco products. Many other nations have made it mandatory for tobacco products to feature graphic warning photos. Health experts say this a welcome move as smoking rates in the US have stagnated at 20% of the population for the last seven years.
Government experts predicted the graphic labels will encourage about 213,000 smokers to quit in 2013. Health experts say the shocking photos will attract people’s attention as they are more memorable than mere warning labels. They say regulation is also required to deal with tobacco ingredients like nicotine and menthol.
Facts about Smoking in America
Smoking rate in the US has declined from 42% in 1965 to about 19% today. Still, smoking is the leading reason for preventable deaths, taking a toll of about 443,000 lives annually. Government statistics reveal that each day about 4,000 American youths try to start smoking, out of which 1,000 become addicted to this deadly habit.