I'm pleased that America is doing more to stop smokers from smoking! I hope this proves to be successful, just like the gruesome cigarette boxes have helped Thailand lose many smokers!
If U.S. regulations are modeled after those already in place in Canada and other countries, the warnings will be shocking: blackened lungs, gangrenous feet, bleeding brains and people breathing through tracheotomies.
Though hard to look at, the more graphic the image, the more effective in discouraging smoking, said Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and director of the university's Center for Tobacco Control, Research and Education. "The graphic warnings really work," Glantz said. "They substantially increase the likelihood someone will quit smoking. They substantially decrease the chances a kid will smoke. And they really screw up the ability of the tobacco industry to use the packaging as a marketing tool."
In the United States, the authority to force packaging changes was granted on June 22, when President Barack Obama, who has struggled with cigarette addiction since he was a teen, signed into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The landmark legislation gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration broad new authority to regulate the marketing of tobacco products. Under the law, the FDA has two years to issue specifics about the new graphic warnings tobacco products will be required to carry. Tobacco companies then have 18 months to get them onto packages.
While the new regulations may also include no-nonsense, text warnings such as "Smoking Makes You Impotent" and "Smoking Kills," the images will have the broadest reach, Hammond said.
Non-English speakers can understand the picture of a diseased mouth, as can people who are illiterate. Smokers tend to have lower literacy levels, Hammond noted.
And kids will get the message too, potentially stopping them from ever lighting up. "You have 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds who can understand that picture," Hammond said.
Elsewhere, graphic warnings seem to be helping to drive down smoking rates. In Canada, about
13 percent of the population smokes daily, a 5 percent drop since the graphic warnings were adopted in 2000, Hammond said.
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