Let’s face it- tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs known to mankind. It is also one of the most boring drugs, and offers very little benefit to the user.
The FDA and HHS has been trying to follow the lead of many European countries, and replace the tiny, and easily ignored worded warning labels on tobacco, and require large, and graphic, warning labels.
But of course- the Tobacco industry has filed lawsuits, and congressmen who receive millions from the Tobacco lobbies have blocked this being implementation.
The truth is- while people should have the right to ingest whatever substance they want, there is also a responsibility to provide honest information on the harms, and to offer help to those who need it.
And for far too long, we have not been doing this. We have allowed the tobacco companies to downplay, and to lie – often in court, about both the dangers, as well as their involvement in creating even more addictive cigarettes- whether by engineering tobacco with higher nicotine content or the hundreds of chemicals they add to each and every cigarette.
And while restrictions have been slowly increasing, for decades we have allowed tobacco companies to sponsor sporting events and concerts, to advertise on billboards and magazines, to buy placement in movies…
And their is no debating the millions they have poured into politics, nor the millions they have poured into defending themselves in court. Of course they have failed to accept responsibility for the billions in health care costs their products saddle the taxpayer with.
And the ecidence is clear- the longer before one starts smoking- the less likely they become addicted.
To me- everyone has the right to smoke if they so choose- so long as they don’t put others at undue risk in so doing. In my opinion- as long as we allow tobacco companies to advertise, to prominetly display their products in stores, and to buy placement in movies- then these graphic warning labels are a sensible countermeasure.
Personally, I’d like to see a lot of policy changes:
Raising legal age to 21. Including real penalties for those who profit from the sale to those underage.
Requiring nicotine content and every single additive to be disclosed.
Ban on advertising including product placement.
Cost of addiction treatment covered by tobacco companies and at least a substantial portion of health and social costs covered by tobacco companies and/or state/federal tax on tobacco products.
Incentives for companies to reduce rather then increase the addictive potential of their products.
An amnesty for tobacco companies, expiring after two years, to come clean about both their research on health effects, and their manipulation of nicotine and additives. After that severe financial and criminal penalties to the highest levels of these corporations if they are found to have withheld (or “misplaced”) such information.
Tobacco companies covering the cost of any new research required into how their formulation and addition of chemicals effect both addiction, and health.