For over 45 years the U.S. has been placing warnings on packs of cigarettes, however, compared to other countries our warnings are mild in comparison.
Surgeon General’s Warning Examples
- SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy.
- SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.
- SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking By Pregnant Women May Result in Fetal Injury, Premature Birth, And Low Birth Weight.
- SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Cigarette Smoke Contains Carbon Monoxide.
Lets look at Singapore for example; since for several years they have used blunt strait to the point warnings using text and pictures of damaged organs… for example:
- Smoking causes a slow painful death
- Smoking harms your family
- Tobacco smoke can kill babies
- Smoking causes stroke
- Smoking causes lung cancer
- Smoking causes mouth diseases
Example of Pakistan’s Warnings
- WARNING: Protect children. Do not let them breath your smoke. Ministry of Health.
- WARNING: Smoking causes mouth and throat cancer. Ministry of Health.
- WARNING: Quit smoking; live longer life. Ministry of Health.
- WARNING: Smoking severely harms you and the people around you. Ministry of Health.
United Kingdom Smoking Warnings
- Smoking kills
- Smoking seriously harms you and others around you
- Additionally, one of the following additional warnings must be displayed, covering at least 40% of the surface of the pack:
- Smokers die younger
- Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes
- Smoking causes fatal lung cancer
- Smoking when pregnant harms your baby
- Protect children: don’t make them breathe your smoke
- Your doctor or your pharmacist can help you stop smoking
- Smoking is highly addictive, don’t start
- Stopping smoking reduces the risk of fatal heart and lung diseases
- Smoking can cause a slow and painful death
We could go on and on with examples from additional countries however, the point would be the same. The U.S has some catching up to do.
Though the United States started the trend of labelling cigarette packages with health warnings, today the country has one of the smallest, least prominent warnings placed on their packages. Warnings are usually in small typeface placed along one of the sides of the cigarette packs with colors and fonts that closely resemble the rest of the package, so the warnings essentially are integrated and do not stand out with the rest of the cigarette package. However, this is subject to change as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 requires pictorial warning labels with supplemental text to cover 50 percent of the front and rear of each pack. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will design the health warnings in 2011, and tobacco companies will begin including them on their cigarette packaging in 2012.
It amazes me that I smoked for so many years and I never paid any attention to those warnings. When was the last time you read the warning on your pack of cigarettes? Would things of been different if a “Smoking Kills” label covered 30% of the package or a picture of rotting gums or lung cancer? I would hope so or else people who smoke either are stupid or have a death wish.