Friday, November 12, 2010

FDA Proposes New Cigarette Labels

The FDA will soon require new cigarette package labeling to deter smoking. So in politically-correct governmental fashion, they are asking which labels you'd like to see. (You can pick your favorites here.) My personal favorite (so far) is the one shown to the left, but its impact factor pales in comparison to this example found in England. (That, my friends, is cancer!)

Ironically, it appears the FDA isn't too sure how forceful it should be in these warnings about the dangers of smoking. They offer a cornucopia of milquetoast labeling options - many of which contain cartoons. Might such unrealistic portrayals defy they hard-hitting message they want to project? Worse, at least one cartoon (seen here) even seems to promote cigarettes AND drug use together!

In an even more astonishing example, some images almost make me what to take up smoking so I can blow big bubbles. Since I could never do this well before, maybe I should take up smoking! Seriously, is an empowerment message what the government wants to portray?

Make these labels big, ugly, and real.

Anything else is a waste of taxpayer's money.



DrV said...

What's next? Images of atherosclerotic plaque inside the menu at Flemings?

rlbates said...

I love these new labels! Hope they take up one whole side.

Anonymous said...

I don't see any of these making much of a dent in smoking rates; it's not like people don't already know that smoking is bad for their health. Besides, hasn't research shown that scare tactics don't actually work very well? Perhaps it would be more effective to put quitting tips, encouragement, and hotline numbers on the packs instead of just adding pictures to already ineffective warnings.

Anonymous said...

Canada has been on this band wagon for ages, it's funny to see smokers ask for certain packages of cigarettes at the store..."NO! Not the ones with the teeth"

Anonymous said...

I tried to follow you link to choose a favorite, but in typical government fashion they have made it so complicated that the average person will not be able to figure out how to do it (and I was too frustrated to leave my comments by the time I finally did get there!). They really SHOULD seek our opinion, and with today's technology they can and should make it easy for us to offer it. (The one from England is great, btw - what a deterrent!!).

Carolyn Thomas said...

I too am in Canada, where our tobacco label motto seems to be "the more gross, the better!"

But given that the largest demographic of new smokers is made up of young adolescent girls (who sincerely believe that they are going to live forever and nothing bad is every going to happen to them anyway), showing them gross pictures of dead or sick old people goes right over their youthful little heads.

This group thinks that smoking makes them "look" cool, and I suspect that's where the key messaging has to hit them: how they look. "Smoking wrinkles your skin, especially your upper lip" or "Smoking gives you bad breath" or "Smoking gives you really gross yellow fingers".

Or how about appealing to their "Screw The Man" natural anti-adult social conscience streak? "Every cigarette you smoke makes Big Tobacco even richer" or "Philip Morris Uses 10 year old Child Slaves in Khazakstan" - More on this at THE ETHICAL NAG: MARKETING ETHICS FOR THE EASILY SWAYED "

As an ex-smoker, I think we're on the wrong track expecting smokers to quit because of health risks. They already know them and ignore them.