Thursday, November 11, 2010

FDA and DHHS propose graphic new cigarette labels

NOTE: All information in this post is from "Feds propose graphic cigarette warning labels," an article by Michael Felberbaum, published on Yahoo! News at 7:13 p.m. on Wed., Nov. 10.

In an effort to reduce smoking rates -- which have "stalled" in recent years -- the Food and Drug Administration and the Health and Human Services Department are trying to have new labels placed on cigarette packs that depict infected lungs, cancer patients, tracheotomies, and other such graphic images that bring home the dangers of smoking.

Some argue that people will find these labels "offensive" and just ignore them. To give these people their due, there is social psychological research suggesting that hyping up the fear factor has a counterproductive effect, since people don't like to associate horrible and disturbing consequences with pleasurable activities (this is according to the ninth edition of Eliot Aronson's "The Social Animal"). I don't know how up-to-date this information is, though.

Stanton Glantz, a tobacco researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, claims that the aforementioned argument was "cooked up by cigarette companies" and that "[i]f that were true, the tobacco industry wouldn't be fighting them (the new labels) so hard" (this is Felberbaum's wording of Glantz' argument).

This sort of reminds me of a similar campaign depicted in the 2005 film, "Thank You For Smoking."

Click here to read the whole article.

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