By Ben French
Images of suffering children and cancerous lungs are the new
standard in the prevention of cigarette use.
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act is a new
law that requires the tobacco companies to place graphic images of
the negative effects of smoking on all packs of cigarettes.
The problem lies in how tobacco has continuously become the
subject of negativity when there are several other harmful
substances out there that can do the same damage, if not worse.
This specific industry gets targeted while others get a free
pass to produce harmful products.
Why is this law singling out tobacco and not addressing all
other products and companies that could cause disease or
What about other drugs? Should drinking alcohol have massive
labels depicting car crashes and dead bodies strewn across a
Why not place graphics on cars for that matter, to ensure people
don’t fall asleep at the wheel?
Do over the counter drugs and prescription drugs need pictures
of construction workers killing people on the street while
Laws enforcing the safe, proper use of prescription drugs are
meant to ensure the safety of both workers and other people as
Warnings of how the body can be harmed are listed on the
container of most legal drugs, and alcohol is always sold with
warnings about how it can harm people, followed by a reminder to
This has become redundant; for many years, tobacco has been
known to the public as the cause of several medically crippling and
life threatening conditions such as cancer, heart disease and
complications with childbirth.
I learned tobacco could kill me. I went through the programs and
saw the people smoking out the holes in their throats, sitting in
wheel chairs with saline drips in-between their chemotherapy for
the three different kinds of cancer they are suffering from.
After all of this, I still tried smoking.
Labels on cigarette packages explain in clear words that almost
all adults can read or at least understand that tobacco can harm
Programs to reinforce the negative effects of cigarettes have
been placed in public facilities such as schools, public
transportation, federal facilities and even in some places of
Tobacco is no longer a mysterious and elusive killer that lures
people in and forces them into a state of addiction that eventually
Smoking has become a choice that many consenting adults make,
even after watching programs explaining the harms tobacco use can
cause and reading labels explaining the risks you take when using
This is all a farce that does nothing more than sell more
If you are a mildly suggestible young adult who has never smoked
before and you see something provocative like the image of a person
dying or other extreme images of cigarette use, it is understood
that you should not smoke.
The problem is that you would probably still smoke. This is most
likely because of some sense that smoking is a serious choice or
some other irrational reasoning linked to how a cigarette gains
attention, even if it is negative attention, or how the smell
lingers, making others react to your presence.
A simple, low-impact way to label recreational drugs is to make
a universal warning symbol with the intent to stigmatize people
with the idea that these things are not good, and nothing good can
really come of them other than momentary satisfaction.
There has never been such a label and, as long as sensational
laws are established to create these abominable jokes used to
“deter” people from drug use, then no progress will be made.
Photo illustration by Amanda Newfield/The Poly Post
Warnings get graphic
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