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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

Smoking cigarettes continues to be one of the number one killers in America. While products containing nicotine are legal for adult use, they are responsible for taking more lives than many Schedule I narcotics combined. With the nation focused on gaining the right to smoke marijuana, for better or worse, many have lost sight of cigarette smoking prevention efforts, despite the fact that experts overwhelmingly agree that cigarettes are one of the true “gateway drugs” along with alcohol, both of which are far more deadly.

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."

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