New cigarette labels won’t deter smokers

State Hornet Staff

The government really wants you to know that smoking cigarettes will harm you and give you lung cancer.

Because of course, smokers do not know that and think cigarettes are filled with vitamins and minerals.

This time next year, the Food and Drug Administration will require tobacco companies to put nine specific labels on packages of cigarettes and all advertising. The labels range from ineffective to disturbing and offensive.

In the government’s manifesto of regulations attempting to justify this insanity, it mentions that subgroups of society are more likely to smoke and somehow be unaware of the fact that cigarettes kill people. These subgroups of people include minorities, homosexuals, military personnel and people who cannot read.

Despite the government’s insulting, condescending view of seemingly everyone in the country, practically everyone knows smoking will kill you.

Most smokers at some point want to quit because they know how bad it is. Anybody who honestly does not realize that tobacco is horrible for them is doomed to a lifetime of stupidity, they cannot be helped and will make bad decisions in life despite available information.

“I don’t think it will make me stop because I’m pretty much already aware of it,” said junior civil engineering major Adolfo Luna. “I’m not a big-time smoker, but I know what it does.”

The new labels are required to cover 50 percent of cigarette packs on both sides and take up 20 percent of the top on all advertisements.

If all cigarette packages were covered with pictures of zombies and said smoking will make you look like you are from Resident Evil, most people would still smoke.

When asked if she would stop smoking when the new packs come out, sophomore journalism major Ellie Staveris said she would not.

“I had cancer my senior year (in high school),” Staveris said. “When I lived in a cancer house, a lot of people still smoked.”

It’s exceptionally hard to make the tobacco companies look sympathetic, but the government is doing just that by taking over how companies market their products, deadly or not.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 46.6 million Americans smoke cigarettes. With a population of more than 312 million Americans according to the latest U.S. Census, that means 85 percent of the country doesn’t smoke.

However, everyone is going to have to see dozens of pictures of a dead body and holes in necks when they go to a gas station or on billboards while driving down the highway.

People addicted enough to spend thousands of dollars giving themselves emphysema and smell terrible in public probably are not going to stop because they see a picture of nasty lungs.

The new labels will all have 1-800-QUIT-NOW on them and then reroute callers to government-run hot lines, called Quitlines.

With so many products and private companies offering services to people who want to quit, this is just another use of taxpayer dollars going to waste.

The Surgeon General’s warnings will no longer be on the packs since the FDA claims it does not have enough research to determine whether or not it is worth having a government source on the label.

That should be a red flag to everyone involved in this debacle: the labels are going to have little impact.

“I think the images of not living anymore would affect my habits,” said freshman business major Alicia Fuoco, who said she was already trying to quit.

This is all part of a disturbing trend of the government trying to regulate people’s legal behavior.

In a few years, to combat the growing obesity problem, maybe the government can control packaging of food that is high in fat.

Nabisco can replace the image on its packages of Oreo cookies with a picture of someone unable to fit through a doorway. Ben and Jerry’s can replace its colorful, cheerful labels with pictures of fat children unable to go down slides at parks and instead falling off them headfirst crying.

The government has already mandated calorie counts on packages of food and beverages.

Yet people are still getting larger in America, which should be a surprise to no one.

Having one less nauseating stench cloud in people’s faces as they walk around campus would be nice, but it is not likely.

If the government really wants people to stop smoking, it needs to raise the cigarette taxes so high people can barely afford them.

Symbolic gestures to an actual problem are not going to work well. It is only going to waste money and anger people.