No pictures of health headed for cigarettes
Graphic images of diseased lungs, rotten teeth or a dead body won't stop Lamont Walker from buying his daily pack of Newport cigarettes.
"My grandfather lived to be 90, and he smoked all his life," said Walker, 57, a 45-year smoker and professional cook from the North Side who is on disability while he heals from back surgery.
"I do have an addiction, and I do plan on quitting, but I'll do it for the man upstairs, not because of pictures on a cigarette pack," Walker said as he took a puff during a stroll Tuesday on Western Avenue.
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released nine graphic images and warnings that manufacturers must start printing on the top half of both sides of cigarette packs by September 2012.
The Tobacco Control Act of 2009 requires the FDA to pair color images of the health effects of smoking with warnings, such as "Warning: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease" and "Warning: Tobacco smoke can harm your children," to replace the small black-and-white Surgeon General warnings that haven't changed since 1985.
In a letter written Jan. 11, 2010, to the FDA, lawyers from tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds, Commonwealth Brands and Lorillard Inc. called the anti-smoking campaign "ideological" and intended "to elicit loathing, disgust, and repulsion" rather than giving consumers information they could use rationally to weigh the "risks and perceived benefits from smoking."
FDA officials believe the grave warnings will reduce tobacco use, the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the United States, where about 46.6 million people smoke. Tobacco use kills more than 440,000 Americans a year, according to the FDA.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has said analysts in her agency calculated the warnings could persuade up to 213,000 smokers to quit in the first year. The figure doesn't include potential smokers who decide not to start, she said.
The smoking rate in the United States has been dropping for decades. In 1962, about 42 percent of Americans smoked. For the past five years, the rate has hovered at about 20 percent.
Authors of a study of the graphic warning labels that accompanied the FDA's announcement said the campaign could lead to people quitting, but it could take time. The researchers said, "We do not find strong evidence that the warning labels tested in this experiment had much of an impact on this measure of cessation."
Isolating the impact from the influences of other smoking cessation programs will be difficult, said Dr. Brian Carlin, a pulmonologist at Allegheny General Hospital on the North Side.
"A good statistic I saw is that if you smoke a pack a day, you're going to see those pictures 7,000 times a year," Carlin said. "Sooner or later, it's going to come to the forefront of your brain that maybe I need to stop smoking."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Florida woman wields a shotgun in forcing son to jump from window
- Foreign government gifts to family charity present candidacy hurdle for Hillary Clinton
- Railroad measure awaits House approval
- This winter, a fur coat’s not enough
- Appeals court tosses gag order in ex-coal company CEO’s case
- Young white males replace older black men as OD victims as heroin deaths climb
- Blankenship: US prosecution ‘selective and vindictive’
- McConnell punts on Iran review bill
- Dig uncovers ancient stone tool in eastern Oregon
- Hung jury to let judge settle Arias sentence in former boyfriend’s slaying
- Latest winter blast strands airline passengers, motorists