Let me state right off the bat that I am not a smoker. I’ve never been a smoker. I hate cigarette smoke. I hate it when someone smokes near me or smokes and then comes near me. Smokers have no idea how much their breath smells and the stench of cigarette smoke hangs on their clothes, in their hair, on their skin. (In the interest of full disclosure, I equally hate strongly scented candles and when people douse themselves in extremely noxious cologne.)
I am also married to a smoker and have a smoking daughter and mother and extended family members. I am a non-smoker in cigarette land.
Having said that, I have to comment on the new FDA warning labels that will be required for all cigarette packages by 2012.
If you missed the story, cigarette packs – which already carry warning labels about cancer and nicotine addiction, in addition to hefty taxes designed to deter smokers from smoking – will now be adorned with gruesome photos of rotting teeth, diseased lungs, dying smokers hooked to oxygen and even an actual corpse.
I”m not sure how other non-smokers feel about this, but I say that this is just one more example of governmental interference.
Yes, I am a non-smoker and I am against warnings on cigarette packs. I mean, what other product that is sold legally in this country is required by the government to advertise all of the reasons why you shouldn’t buy it? Not fast food. Not soda. Not cars or clothes or household appliances. Imagine if other products had the same advertising requirements that cigarettes do.
The next time you went to McDonalds, your 1/2 gallon of soda would come with a big fat gut emblazoned on the cup and the workers would be required to convince you to opt for milk instead of Coke.
Your next new car would come with a required list of all of the dangers of driving, along with photos of crushed bodies, tangled metal and other bloody gore, and a list of other methods of transportation that the government deems safer.
Every piece of produce in the supermarket would have a tag listing the reasons why you shouldn’t buy it, from cancer causing pesticides to genetically modified cells to bacteria and other contaminants picked up on its journey from the other side of the world to your grocery cart.
Your new carpeting would come with a label explaining that you shouldn’t buy it because all of those petrochemicals used to make the rug cause cancer and breathing problems.
Hell, your next new summer bathing suit would come with a mirrored tag that allowed you to see for yourself how ridiculous you look crammed into spandex with your ass hanging out.
In fact, every product we buy could have some warning label listing reasons why you should’t buy it. Not that it would work. People who smoke already know that it’s going to kill them. So making it seem even more gruesome isn’t really going to deter them. So why do it? So we feel better, like we’re doing something proactive to fight a declared evil.
(And it’s another trick the government uses to focus your attention in one direction while it works behind the scenes in another. War in Libya? What war? It’s those horrible cigarettes that we need to focus on!)
If cigarettes are that bad, just outlaw them. But if they’re going to be sold as a legal product in the US, then the government needs to stop requiring tobacco companies to use the profits from its sales to try and deter people from buying more of the product.