Federal Government infringing on rights?

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wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796
Federal Government infringing on rights?

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/08/17/cigarette.labels.lawsuit/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Do you think that the labels will have any real affect? If so, do you think it's worth the legal battle the tobacco companies are going to wage?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

We have those already in Canada, and I don't know a single person who quit smoking because of the pictures or statements that go along with them. Some of the pictures are pretty benign, but some are pretty graphic.
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/legislation/label-etiquette/graph/index-eng.php
I don't think it's an infringement on anyone's rights. You still have the right to smoke no matter what's on the package.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I don't know if they have much of an effect, but I'm all for anything that gives someone pause before they light up.

Graphic warnings have been used in Canada for a while now, although at a quick glance they seem more tame overall.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I think that until tobacco companies agree to pick up the tab on all smoking related health costs that the federal govt should get to put whatever labels they want on tobacco product.

Right now the fed govt is picking up the bill on many of these healthcare costs via Medicare and Medicaid-- so anything that they can do to prevent others from the habit, I think is well worth the effort.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

But where does it stop? If we allow the government to tell one entity to put negative advertising on their packaging, where do we draw the line? Do we put dead diabetics on twinkies or Icees? Do we put dead heart attack victims on vegetable oil and hot dogs? Do we put car accident victims on cell phones or bottles of alcohol? Should the companies that sell those products have the financial responsibility of covering the healthcare costs attributed to the personal decisions we make as individuals incur when using those same products?

Doesn't a company get protected by most of the same rights as individuals do?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"boilermaker" wrote:

I think that until tobacco companies agree to pick up the tab on all smoking related health costs that the federal govt should get to put whatever labels they want on tobacco product.

Right now the fed govt is picking up the bill on many of these healthcare costs via Medicare and Medicaid-- so anything that they can do to prevent others from the habit, I think is well worth the effort.

Yep, I agree with this! I don't think the labeling is going to get anyone to stop smoking, but if it stops some kids from picking up that first pack, and getting addicted, then it's great.

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

"wlillie" wrote:

But where does it stop? If we allow the government to tell one entity to put negative advertising on their packaging, where do we draw the line? Do we put dead diabetics on twinkies or Icees? Do we put dead heart attack victims on vegetable oil and hot dogs? Do we put car accident victims on cell phones or bottles of alcohol?

Doesn't a company get protected by most of the same rights as individuals do?

But, it is a warning. Using the product as intended in known to cause serious health problems. As is, the tobacco companies are the ones not owning up to the fact that their product is dangerous. I really don't see it any differently then putting the skull and crossbones poison sign or an explosive warning on products.

While we don't put pictures of dead people on unhealthy food, we do put the health information stating that their is a million grams of sodium, fat, and cholesterol in those hot dogs.

Smokers and tobacco companies don't like these warning, because it put in the forefront - graphically- what we all know, but often try to ignore.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

I'm looking at a pack.

"Surgeon General's Warning: Quitting Smoking now greatly reduces serious risks in your health."

Not to mention, that the advertising that tells you all of the bad things that can happen to you because of smoking are paid for by these companies (as far as I know with the exception of those random ones with people dying in the street).

Is there anyone you (general) know that doesn't know that smoking causes all kinds of bad health issues? I'm not trying to be snarky, but I just don't see how anyone could argue that health information on food that isn't healthy is more educational than the warning I posted above. If these companies have to put pictures of the results of using their products, why aren't we making Burger King pay for commercials and signs and put pictures of fat people on their products?

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

I couldn't find the most current data and have to do some work, but if you look at those numbers, being obese is just as risky as smoking.

eta-I didn't smoke as a teenager or even as a younger 20 something and I don't think these pictures would sway anyone at that age. They don't believe it will happen to them. I think it's just going to cause a lot of legal battles that I'm hoping will eventually end with the government *not* being able to tell a company selling a legal product that they have to put certain pictures on it.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Honestly, I wish they'd raise the price to something like $25 a pack, let the tobacco companies keep a reasonable profit margin, and put the rest into healthcare funding. Kids who want to be cool will find something else. Adults who really want to start smoking (why???) will find a way to fit it into their budget. And the rest of us won't be burdened with the healthcare costs down the line.

And the difference IMHO between Burger King & tobacco companies is that you don't become physically addicted to french fries. Sure, they're a comfort food, but they aren't addictive in the way that nicotine is.

wlillie's picture
Joined: 09/17/07
Posts: 1796

Fair enough. I get taxing them to cover the costs incurred to the medical system, but wouldn't it be more appropriate to require an addition to the Surgeon general statement saying they are addictive (even though I don't believe that anyone that started smoking in the last 30 years doesn't know this)? How exactly are these pictures going to inform anyone of anything they don't already know?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"wlillie" wrote:

Fair enough. I get taxing them to cover the costs incurred to the medical system, but wouldn't it be more appropriate to require an addition to the Surgeon general statement saying they are addictive (even though I don't believe that anyone that started smoking in the last 30 years doesn't know this)? How exactly are these pictures going to inform anyone of anything they don't already know?

It's scare tactics, really. Saying cigarettes are addictive is so benign. Lots of things are addictive but won't necessarily kill you. Putting the image out there that says "If you smoke this is what could happen to your heart/brain/lungs etc." maybe hits people on a more personal level.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"wlillie" wrote:

Is there anyone you (general) know that doesn't know that smoking causes all kinds of bad health issues? I'm not trying to be snarky, but I just don't see how anyone could argue that health information on food that isn't healthy is more educational than the warning I posted above. If these companies have to put pictures of the results of using their products, why aren't we making Burger King pay for commercials and signs and put pictures of fat people on their products?

Of course everyone "knows" but that doesn't actually mean anything to a smoker. I knew full well that smoking was bad for me but I could come up with every excuse under the sun as to why it would hurt me. "Oh ya, smoking causes cancer, but I won't get it. I'm healthy." Ya right! Denial is a huge factor with addiction. I don't think that the warnings do anything for the smoker, but they do for those who have quit. When I look at my friends pack and think of asking for one but see the warning that says "cigarettes hurt children" and has a picture of a child pretending to smoke with mommy, it stops me. It might also stop a teen from starting. And as a smoker it did make me uncomfortable even if I rationalized it away. I think that anything that will make smoking seem less appealing is a good thing.

As to the freedom of speech issue? That is bs. Every product that is bad for you has some indication - even if it is just the fat and sugar content in the nutritional info. Someone on my quit smoking board suggested that instead of warnings they just put the list of 500 ingredients on the package so people can see what they are really smoking. Cyanide anyone?

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

Of course everyone "knows" but that doesn't actually mean anything to a smoker. I knew full well that smoking was bad for me but I could come up with every excuse under the sun as to why it would hurt me. "Oh ya, smoking causes cancer, but I won't get it. I'm healthy." Ya right! Denial is a huge factor with addiction. I don't think that the warnings do anything for the smoker, but they do for those who have quit. When I look at my friends pack and think of asking for one but see the warning that says "cigarettes hurt children" and has a picture of a child pretending to smoke with mommy, it stops me. It might also stop a teen from starting. And as a smoker it did make me uncomfortable even if I rationalized it away. I think that anything that will make smoking seem less appealing is a good thing.

As to the freedom of speech issue? That is bs. Every product that is bad for you has some indication - even if it is just the fat and sugar content in the nutritional info. Someone on my quit smoking board suggested that instead of warnings they just put the list of 500 ingredients on the package so people can see what they are really smoking. Cyanide anyone?

Canada requires this also. To quote wikipedia:

Additionally, on the inside of the packaging or, for some packets, on a pull-out card, "health information messages" provide answers and explanations regarding common questions and concerns about quitting smoking and smoking-related illnesses. On the packaging (usually on the narrow side of a packet), a table details the approximate amount of toxic substances found in that particular brand of cigarette, for example (from B&H Belmont Milds brand):

"Toxic emissions / unit: Tar 11 – 26 mg, Nicotine 1.0 – 2.4 mg,
Carbon monoxide 14 – 28 mg, Formaldehyde 0.057 mg – 0.14 mg,
Hydrogen cyanide 0.10 – 0.22 mg, Benzene 0.028 – 0.067 mg"

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I found this very interesting so did some Google research to try and find out how effective the graffic warning labels that Canada has actually are. I found a research paper at http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/15/suppl_3/iii19.full (the second one on the page) that I found very interesting. It studied the knowledge that people had of various diseases and effects of smoking, compared to the warning labels in on their countries packaging. They also factored in how noticeable the labeling is and how often it is actually noticed.

It turns out that these labels are effective in making people aware of all the different effects of smoking, and the more health issues people were aware of the more likely they were to try to quit. So although most people knew that smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer, they were more likely to try to quit if they also knew it causes stroke and impotence.

So even though people are saying 'who doesn't know that smoking's bad for you, or can cause lung cancer' etc, this study is saying that the more information you have the more likely you are to quit, and it basically states that most people don't have enough specific information about the hazards they face.

SO in conclusion, I think the labels are a good thing:)

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"ftmom" wrote:

Canada requires this also. To quote wikipedia:

Additionally, on the inside of the packaging or, for some packets, on a pull-out card, "health information messages" provide answers and explanations regarding common questions and concerns about quitting smoking and smoking-related illnesses. On the packaging (usually on the narrow side of a packet), a table details the approximate amount of toxic substances found in that particular brand of cigarette, for example (from B&H Belmont Milds brand):

"Toxic emissions / unit: Tar 11 – 26 mg, Nicotine 1.0 – 2.4 mg,
Carbon monoxide 14 – 28 mg, Formaldehyde 0.057 mg – 0.14 mg,
Hydrogen cyanide 0.10 – 0.22 mg, Benzene 0.028 – 0.067 mg"

Yes they do have to put the worst of the ingredients on the package. But they don't tell you about all of the additives. I looked it up once and there are about 500 ingredients in a cigarette. I am all for disclosure on what people are smoking.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

"boilermaker" wrote:

I think that until tobacco companies agree to pick up the tab on all smoking related health costs that the federal govt should get to put whatever labels they want on tobacco product.

Right now the fed govt is picking up the bill on many of these healthcare costs via Medicare and Medicaid-- so anything that they can do to prevent others from the habit, I think is well worth the effort.

Yep, agreed. I am all for graphic warning labels but I really don't think it's going to make someone quit smoking. I also think they should raise prices/tax the heck out of them.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I think it's ridiculous. I'm not a smoker, but these pictures will have zero effect on their sales. People aren't stupid, they know that smoking will definitely cause them health issues, if not kill them outright, and they still smoke. Are we going to start putting pictures of DUI crashes on beer bottles too? It's insane... we're all grown ups and make our own choices with what we'll put into our bodies.