ONE THOUSAND WORDS
Trying to get committed smokers to quit is extremely difficult. In the last several years the Lung Disease Foundation of Central Pa. has utilized a grant from the American Lung Association to conduct smoking cessation programs in Blair and Bedford Counties. Over the years, a variety of techniques have been used to influence smokers to quit and non-smokers not to start.
Warnings on cigarette packs have been in place since 1984. However, over time the FDA and the surgeon general’s warnings have become virtually invisible to consumers. For years, cigarette packs sold in Canada have included pictures of people with diseased lungs, rotted teeth, and dying patients, to help dissuade smokers from buying cigarettes and hopefully quitting altogether.
A new proposal by the FDA would put graphic, colored images illustrating the harms of smoking on all cigarette packs. These photos would not be as aggressive as those in Canada, and only deal with lesser-known complications from smoking such as stroke, bladder cancer and obstructive pulmonary disease. This is the second time the FDA has tried to place such imagery on cigarette packs. The first effort was opposed by R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies and was blocked on appeal. The government dropped the case in 2013.
I am not sure how the Canadians got their message across and we did not. We will have only 13 pre-approved pictures that can be used but, it is a start. Maybe the work-around is to have all of the cigarette packs in America imported from Canada.