Cigarettes in the United States clearly state that "smoking causes cancer" on their packaging, but is it effective? The Food and Drug administration fears the warning isn't causing smokers to consider the health risks that come with the habit.
The FDA is proposing a law that will put nine different graphic labels onto packs of cigarettes. Ranging from pictures of decayed teeth to blackened lungs, the labels will be disturbing.
Health officials are hoping the new campaign, which will visualize the dangers of smoking, will motivate the masses to quit and stop people from starting.
This week NBC talked with smokers and nonsmokers to see how they felt about the proposed new packs. Ed Nordell, a die-hard smoker from Roxborough, believes the new packages won't influence people to quit. He explained, “When [cigarettes] go to seven dollars a pack that does not stop people.”
Donna Anderson has smoked for 30 years. Looking at the images she admits, “It is very graphic and it makes my stomach turn, but it’s not going to stop me from smoking as sad as that is.”
Jesse Webster, another smoker, had emotional reactions to the gruesome images. She knows it's a “terrible habit”, but says “once someone is stuck in a regiment it is hard to get out of it.”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “approximately 443,000 people die each year from cigarette smoking.”
Kathleen Rooney does not smoke but is well aware of its dangers. She lost her parents to smoking-related illnesses. She saw her mother and father lose control of their addictions.
Fred McDowell, a restaurant owner and teacher who doesn't smoke seems more optimistic about the new labels. He believes the unsettling images will hinder children from starting to smoke. McDowell wanted to show the graphic labels to one of his employees, Jessica, who is a mother. Jessica, a smoker, says she wouldn't purchase a pack that says "smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby." Other images however, like those of rotting teeth, would not influence her decision to smoke.
In 2003 the United Kingdom introduced graphic health warnings on every cigarette pack. The Department of Health reported the number of successful quitters in the UK increased from 124,000 people in 2003 to 204,900 people in 2004. Thirty-nine countries including Canada and Australia have followed suit by developing compelling anti-smoking campaigns.
The FDA predicts that these frightening images will lead 213,000 Americans to quit smoking in 2013.