Good news: New FDA graphics for cigarette packs might just make you vomit
posted at 6:00 pm on June 21, 2011 by Allahpundit
Your government wishes you to be healthy. And sometimes, good health requires a little preventive nausea.
Federal health officials on Tuesday released their final selection of nine graphic warning labels to cover the top half of cigarette packages beginning next year, over the opposition of tobacco manufacturers…
The four leading tobacco companies were all threatening legal action, saying the images would unfairly hurt their property and free-speech rights by obscuring their brand names in retail displays, demonizing the companies and stigmatizing smokers…
Lawrence R. Deyton, director of the F.D.A. Center for Tobacco Products, said the government estimates — based on other countries’ experience — that the new warning labels will prompt an additional 213,000 Americans to quit smoking next year…
A few smokers surveyed on New York sidewalks were unswayed by the images. Khariton Popilevsky, 46, a pawnbroker, shrugged and said, “Telling me things we already know. I’ll still be smoking.” Hayley Sapp, 28, a paralegal, said, “There are lots of other high risks out there, you know. Obesity is huge.” Saiful Islam, 34, a convenience store clerk, said higher prices would cut sales a lot more than the images on cigarette packs.
I wrote about this in November, when they were trying to decide on which nine to choose from 36 possible graphics. You can view the nine “winners” at the FDA’s page or at ABC, which prefaces its slideshow with a “viewer discretion” warning even though these pics will soon be staring you in the face at every newsstand, deli, and convenience store in America. (And yes, one of them is of a corpse.) Don’t be too distressed, though: This is just a transitional step, aimed at shaving a few more points off of the 20 percent or so of Americans who currently smoke, with an outright ban presumably to follow someday when the numbers get low enough. Sebelius was asked at today’s presser flat out whether cigarettes will eventually be illegal, and she allegedly replied, “We are making great strides.” I’ve been looking around for a transcript or video to confirm or debunk that but haven’t found any yet. If you have a link, e-mail us at tips.
The question now, as in November, is why stop at cigarettes? Ciggies may be addictive but the percentage of American smokers is actually lower than the percentage of obese residents for most states. How long before every Happy Meal box carries a photo of a 350-lb. man with his shirt off? Gotta control health-care costs somehow. Exit question for constitutional lawyers: How likely are the cigarette companies to prevail on their First Amendment claims? I know that the feds can regulate commercial speech more easily than other forms, but we’re on the doorstep here of the government making an entire industry’s advertising/branding choices for it.
Breaking on Hot Air