Over the last decade, or so, there has been a push by tobacco opponents to include graphic warning labels on the packaging of cigarettes. Several Western countries have experimented with such labels, with beneficial results, yet “big tobacco” has fought graphic images tooth and nail. And for good reason. If people saw with their own eyes the havoc tobacco is wreaking on the inside, they would probably be less inclined to smoke.
Nevertheless, cigarettes continue to be sold in the manner that they have been for decades, despite the staggering death toll associated with the cancer sticks. There is more at stake than just the smoker, cigarettes have been linked to neonatal problems that could affect someone long after they are born. Secondhand smoke has also been linked to cancer with people who have never smoked.
We have come a long way in the U.S. with regard to tobacco legislation, none of which should be discounted. However, it is paramount that efforts to mitigate the harmful toll that tobacco takes on society continue. Graphic warning labels are the next logical step in the campaign to end tobacco use in America. New research suggests that labels depicting the harmful effects of tobacco could save more than 650,000 lives by 2065, HealthDay reports. The findings were published in the journal Tobacco Control.
"By any standard, this would be considered a very, very successful public health intervention," said study author David Levy. He is a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. "The other countries have persisted and gotten the graphic warnings, so if they can do it, there's no reason that the United States shouldn't do it."