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This just in: Cigarettes deadly; cigarette warnings hilarious

An FDA proposal set to be put into effect in 2011 will apparently require tobacco companies to put large new warnings on their products. These warnings will take up a full 50 percent of the packaging on a pack of cigarettes, according to the proposal on the FDA website.

Follow this link to see some of the proposed warning labels, complete with illustrations.

Now, I know that smoking and the negative health effects related to it are not a laughing matter.

Except in this case.

These warnings are so over the top as to be, well, hilarious. The Onion couldn’t have satirized this nearly as well as these illustrations satirize themselves — the would-be message of warning an apparently uneducated populace.

I mean, come on. Does anyone who smokes not know of the risks of smoking? And will these labels make a difference? I’m thinking no and no. But this was easily the funniest thing I’ve seen this week.

My favorite: The illustration of the guy having a heart attack and a stroke at the same time. I’m trying to imagine the photographer giving the actor direction for that photo: “Okay, pretend like you’re having a heart attack and a stroke — at the same time!”

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20 comments on this post

Gotta Catch ’em All!

It’s interesting how the times have changed since the mid-20th century where companies could claim that smoking was actually healthy. It may seem stupid, but I’m sure this new packaging can make a small difference. It’s a matter of repetition. People know smoking harms them, but being told every time they take out a cigarette can help them convince themselves to finally quit.

On the other hand, I have yet to see such warning labels on soft drinks or fried foods even though obesity now kills more people than tobacco.

I think the very graphic ones (e.g., of the mouth with lung cancer, the dying cancer patient) would be effective in jarring the viewer. It’s not a question of providing information, it’s a question of shaking up the potential buyer. But the problem is that people become inured to such images, so it would only be effective the first time or so . . .

Here in Europe (well Ireland anyway) the health warnings are already near this size on some packets. I don’t think they make the slightest bit of difference to the smoker. I sell cigarettes in a shop and never once have I seen a customer buy a pack of cigs and then hand it back because of the warning…

They remind me of the warnings introduced up here in Canada in the ’90s. IIRC one of these warned that smoking could cause impotence. It had a picture of a smoked cigarette that was curling down limply.

The goal now is not to deter current smokers but prevent the new ones. The old ones )like me) will eventually die and it is to be hoped the percentage of new ones go down.

You should see the warnings they have in southeast Asia (Philippines, Singapore and Thailand). Grotesque pictures of horrible cancers and other diseases. A few cartoons are pretty tame compared to what they use out there. Here’s a link if you’re interested, but be warned, definitely not for children or those with loose stomachs…

Do they think I’m going to buy a pack of cigarettes, look at the pack and go “It causes cancer? Holy crap, why didn’t anyone tell me!” If it’s about straining the health care system, I don’t know why they don’t just take all smoking-caused operations off the public health care list and be done with it. Just to kill my own point though, it’s possibly a slippery slope …should alcohol-related operations be taken off the list? Obesity?

Actually…the US doesn’t have health care does it? Hehe, ignore everything I just said! Not sure what this is really about then.

It’s not just to impact the person buying the cigarettes. Picture a household where a parent’s cigarette pack is lying on the coffee table. Little Katie sitting on the couch looks over at the pack, and sees…what? Something that might make an impact. Something that might affect her decision-making down the road.

Well they are on a mission to push consumers onto chewing gum and patches that have a rarely revealed 5% success rate. The idea is you stop, chew some gum for six months, slip off the wagon and start smoking again. A year later the shame makes you try again and maybe use a patch. 6 months later you fall of the wagon and….the Tobacco industry keeps making it’s cash, the Government keeps making it’s cash and big Pharma keeps making it’s cash and as a little side bonus organisations like ASH get more donations from Big Pharma. So you are on a big fat merry-go-round.

Me? I’m off cigarettes a year using Electronic Cigarettes. Because they are outside the merry-go-round the FDA, ASH and Big Pharma really really hate them. I love them.

This just in: Jammer needs more content.


Wow, I am really surprised by some of the reactions. How much effort and $$ do we really need to spend to prevent future smokers? Is all we have already not enough? I guess having a picture is a better deterrent for little kids, but are kids who can’t read yet really starting smoking? I mean, it’s possible I suppose, but really?

Anyway, I found the ads hilarious as well and it’s gotten to the point where even though I hate cigarette smoke (yuck!) the government is going way overboard in all their efforts to “protect” us. Also, wow on the other warnings posted!

Quinalla, in response to the question in your first paragraph:

“… are kids who can’t read yet really starting smoking? I mean, it’s possible I suppose, but really? ”

I would posit that every smoker who has ever lived was once a kid who could not read at some point in his or her past. Do you disagree?

IC! The “Quitting smoking” with the picture of the toilet – that would be enough to make ME quit, just cuz… yuck!

Seriously, though, you’d be amazed how many people believe “smoking is unhealthy” is just propoganda… and since smoking is a very European thing, and a lot of European cigs aren’t as nasty as US brands (Phillip Morris adds GUNPOWDER to make them burn faster!), many Europeans and their offspring simply ignore these ads. And kids – and teens, especially – think European transplants are “cool”, so if their friends smoke, they smoke.

… it’s a merry-go-round!

Jammer, your argument is foolish and absurd and I’m surprised to see someone like you make it.

Companies spend billions advertising products we already know about – Big Macs, Nike shoes, etc. – and yet here you are suggesting that ads don’t influence behaviour.

Someone here said that they’ve never seen somebody pick up a pack of smokes, look at the ad, and put them back because of the ad. Therefore, we shouldn’t put the warnings on cigarettes. Another embarassing argument.

I’ve never seen somebody bring their portable TV into McDonalds, watch a commercial for a Big Mac, and then go buy a Big Mac. Therefore, McDonalds wastes billions of dollars advertising Big Macs.

I found the ads hilarious as well and it’s gotten to the point where even though I hate cigarette smoke (yuck!) the government is going way overboard in all their efforts to “protect” us. Also, wow on the other warnings posted!

I have also smoked for many more years than I’d care to admit, however the e-cigarettes are a significant deterrant to smoking the actual thing. It is just as enjoyable and has now been a few weeks since I’ve had the real thing. There is no longer any coughing, I feel fantastic and have started going for walks and doing exercise without any sort of panting or being short of breath.

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