Our view: Smoking scare tactics a waste of space

DKS Editors

Smokers will soon see photographs of cancerous lungs and puffs of smoke billowing out of a tracheotomy hole glaring back at them from their pack of cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration announced plans to require tobacco companies who distribute cigarettes in the United States to include one of 36 images on the pack depicting the harm cigarettes can cause. The images are basically intended to scare people away from smoking by being more direct than the required warnings currently on cigarette packs.

The images, several of which depict a dead body, will cover about half of the pack.

The FDA surveyed a group of smokers to see if the images were effective. Results have not been published yet, but similar actions in other countries have yielded positive feedback.

However, we think this might be going a little too far. People know smoking is harmful to one’s health, but adults have the right to make the choice whether or not they are going to use tobacco products. Smokers can simply turn the image over or shove the pack into a pocket or purse to not look at it.

These images are not enlightening the public with any new information. Smoking can cause lung disease and several types of cancers, yet this is not a surprise to anyone. People who have not stopped smoking by now will not stop because of a frightening picture fixed to their cigarette package. Children might actually benefit from this scare tactic, but only time will tell if it really works.

We commend the FDA for its aggressive stance against tobacco, but it might be better to invest in ways to help people to stop smoking rather than trying to scare them.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.