Okay all you cigarette lovers, listen up! The FDA has recently unveiled their proposed advertisements (click the link to see pictures) which will span across every cigarette package sold in the United States. The advertisements will showcase the cause and effect relationship between tobacco and the harmful things the substance does to the body. This new measure is aimed at making consumers rethink their decision every time they light up. I don’t believe we will see a widespread drop in cigarette consumption as a result of these shocking advertisements but I am glad the FDA is taking additional actions to try and curb this disgusting habit.
The Smoke-Free Illinois Act, which prohibits smoking in public places and workplaces, was arguably one of the best days in my life. Banning the annoying smoke that pollutes the atmosphere of my favorite restaurants and bars was a serious feat and makes hanging out in these public places SO much more enjoyable. I know for all the smokers out there who were outraged at this law it was a very unwelcome change, especially when it forces you out onto the streets during blistering cold Chicago winters to take a cig break. Well, I guess you’ll now hate on me because I for one was a huge proponent for this piece of legislation!
Enough of my opinion! Let’s get down and dirty. Why has the FDA decided to take these measures in efforts to persuade smokers to kick the habit? These advertisements have actually now become required by a federal law passed last year. The law empowers the FDA to regulate tobacco products and these advertisements are aimed at doing just that.
Recent studies conducted by the FDA show that 20.6 % of American adults are smokers and an additional 19.5 % of American teenagers are smokers. So while the FDA isn’t banning tobacco products altogether, it is trying to convince these portions of the population to rethink their decision. How about this for an astonishing statistic: roughly 440,000 people in the United States die each year from a smoking-related cause. Why not try to motivate these people to kick the habit with marketing tactics right on the box? I think it’s genius. The advertisement will cover half the surface area of each pack of cigarettes with blunt messages such as: “Smoking can kill you,” or “Cigarettes are addictive.”
Obviously, a drastic change like this has some outraged. Cigarette lovers argue that implementing advertisements such as these infringe on the marketing efforts of the manufacturers. I, for one, don’t agree with this mentality. Cigarettes shouldn’t be advertised period. I understand that invading tobacco’s territory is a bit intrusive but at the end of the day it’s a necessary evil. The standard warning label issued by the Surgeon General that adorns each cigarette pack or magazine advertisement no longer holds value for cigarette users. It’s now time to up the ante and really educate the smokers out there! I know some will argue that it’s not a matter of education but rather a matter of addiction; this is something I can’t argue with but at the very least advertisements such as these can act as a constant reminder of how poisonous tobacco is and hopefully motivate its users to begin the long slow process of breaking the addiction.
What are your thoughts about these new advertisements? If for nothing else, remember non-smokers don’t have to battle premature wrinkles, rotten teeth, damaged lungs…and oh wait, they also LIVE LONGER. What do you think about the new cigarette packaging? Do you think it will encourage people to quit smoking?