This week, the US Department of Health and Human Services released a series of nine new text warnings accompanies with graphic images that are planned to be used on cigarette packs from September 2012. Now, this might have gotten quite a lot of media attention but the USA is certainly not the first country to impose such warnings, as this article correclty points out. Here in Switzerland, for example, we have a big collection of graphic images to be used on cigarette packs, starting in 2010 and rotating until 2016. According to the Tobacco Labelling Resource Center , around 40 countries have imposed picture warnings on cigarette packs and you see the full list here.
As expected, this recent announcement started another round of debate regarding tobacco regulations, their potential (in)effectiveness and the ethical/ personal freedom boundaries they might be crossing. A while ago we also dedicated a post on tobacco-free hiring and recently we all read something about the recent NYC ban on smoking in parks and beaches or the proposed smoking ban in private cars when some of the passengers are children.
Going back to graphic images on cigarette packs, their effectiveness is not self-explanatory: Fear-based messages are perhaps not the best way for smoking prevention , according to some while they also raise ethical concerns . Tobacco companies are, of coure, trying to fight against such measures, the latest example coming today from Philip Morris, who is taking legal action against the Australian goverment for allowing the sale of cigarettes only in plain packages (better explained here).
Regardless if you are a smoker or not, what do you think about the introduction of graphic images on cigarette packs? Can it really make a difference or do you think it is a bit too much? And do you think that any measure to reduce the negative effects of smokers is justified or do you belong to the group of people believing that smokers are singled out and that there is some kind of hypocricy in anti-smoking measures?