We’ve known about the catastrophic health affects cigarettes have on our bodies for years, and with older generations passing well before their time due to decades of smoking, even more attention is being paid to Big Tobacco.
U.S. regulators have now officially mandated that cigarette makers add graphic warning labels to their packages, the most significant change to warning labels in 25 years, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Images of a man smoking through a hole in his neck and other scare-tactic graphics will occupy the entire top half of the pack of cigarettes, with messages like, “Smoking can kill you.”
The mandate will go into effect in October 2012. But where there’s a billion dollar industry, there’s litigation. In 2009, Big Tobacco sued the FDA, arguing that the “graphic-labeling rule and other marketing provisions in the federal tobacco law violate tobacco companies’ constitutional rights to free speech,” WSJ reports. Although the judge ruled mostly in the FDA’s favor, the mixed verdict invited appeals from both sides.
Spokesmen for domestic and international cigarette makers are predictably planning to fight back, mostly citing the goal of the images to evoke negative mental reactions instead of providing objective, factual health information. Regulators “project the U.S. will have 213,000 fewer smokers in the first year after the new labels are introduced,” WSJ reports.
As the battle between free speech (in this case, deceptive marketing) and government health concerns rages on, we remain hopeful spectators that the number of smokers will decrease in the future, by whatever means possible.
Whether or not you’re a smoker, regular physicals are the best plan for maintaining optimal health. Having quality individual health insurance can help to ease the financial burden of doctor visits during challenging economical times. MHG Insurance Brokers also offers group health insurance, life insurance, disability income protection and even commercial insurance. For more information, contact us at the location nearest you.