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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

FDA Smoking Labels 2012: Who should teach your children not to smoke?

Would seeing this on a cigarette label keep you from smoking?
It may be preaching to the choir. How many smokers do you know
that hope to remain smokers until they die from lung cancer?
Let me get this straight up front. I hate everything about smoking. Everything. It has absolutely no redeemable quality. At all. If someone made me choose between smoking one cigarette and taking a bath in cat vomit and skunk juice, I would choose the latter. Do I need to clarify that further?

Let me also get this straight: I never want my children to smoke - anyone else in the world for that matter. A smoke-free world would suit me beautifully. And if my kids ever pick up smoking, they probably won't be allowed in my house. Kapisch?

Knowing my stance on that, let me light up the FDA's newest use of taxpayer money. By October 2012, if not squelched by tobacco lawyers and lobbyists, tobacco companies will be forced to print graphic labels like the one shown above which take up a majority of their printed space. At least 90% of me wants to applaud the decision by our government to attempt to undo much of the damage they have done by subsidizing tobacco farmers to make sure there are hoards of tobacco farmers to provide tobacco companies with affordable crops. By 2015, these subsidies will be cut out, thanks to George W Bush. Now you can tell people he did at least one thing right. 

Will it change anything? Who knows? My kids will get the same anti-smoking education no matter what smoking labels say. But anyone who smokes through a hole in his neck caused by a little thing called smoking probably won't be deterred from his addiction by seeing his spitting image on a cigarette package. Will it stop a few people from starting or help a few people quit? Maybe. It's not like we're not an educated society on the health risks of smoking. The Wall Street Journal reported that the FDA projects a decrease of only 213,000 smokers in the first year of the gnarly looking labels. That's less than half a percent of all smokers in the U.S. 

And we all know how accurate government projections are anyway. For instance, government projected in 1967 spending of $12 billion on medicare through 1990. Drumroll for the actual numbers... $98 billion! More than 800 percent offtrack. And other sources list the cost at $109 billion, which is dang near $100,000,000,000.00 off. I just thought you should see the zeroes. If I had just one check written out to me for a millionth part of that, I could pay off my home and live like an oil tycoon on my comparably meager paychecks. 

But hey, maybe it will mean that more smokers quit than projected. Yeah right. Anyone know smokers? I know a smoker who has tried and been addicted to just about every major hard drug out there. He has quit all the major hard drugs. Smoking? Not so much. He wants to real bad though. Just ask him while he's lighting up.

So as much as I want to say “Thank you” to the FDA, I think I have to pass. Smokers will probably just be smokers anyway. I don't know where the funding is coming for this little label project, but I guarantee taxpayers will fund at least the government's court costs when tobacco companies sue their federal behinds off.
And besides, there's a small part of me that thinks it's just one more step toward Satan's plan. Government, more often than not anymore, has decided to step in and play watchdog on our morals. Sounds a little like our big bro Beelzebub. He wanted us all to be forced into doing what's right. Of course, you can't force anyone to do what's right. And it's my opinion making a smoker a nonsmoker only happens when said smoker decides it is the one thing most important to him or her. Government can never be a substitute for self control, no matter how much taxpayer money they throw at our problems.

Optimistically speaking, though, maybe the nasty labels will help my own children understand what I mean when I say I'd rather they swam through cat vomit than pick up a cigarette. Take it from me: Getting the government involved in just about anything is a bad idea, even when it seems good on the surface. Personally I think if every parent taught their children through example and strong admonition about smoking, no one would be able to sell cigarettes anyway. The responsibility for teaching people not to smoke remains in society's most basic unit: the family. Until families take responsibility for spreading the news well, no teenager will be dissuaded from a pack of cigarettes, no matter how grisly the images it shows.

How do you see the new labels? I welcome opinions from smokers and nonsmokers alike.

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