The new, visual, warning labels on cigarette packs are both alarming and necessary. The graphic images demonstrate the results of smoking on the body, and if we ever hope to become a wholly healthy nation, we need to fight our tobacco addiction.
Here are some of the reasons behind the visual warnings from the FDA:
- Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death; this year approximately 5 million persons worldwide will die from tobacco-related heart attacks, strokes, cancers, and other diseases. In the United States, that number is approximately 443,000.
- Health warnings on cigarette packages prompt smokers to think about quitting, according to a 14-nation study. Effective warning labels as a component of comprehensive tobacco control can help save lives by reducing tobacco use.
- More than 90% of men and women cigarette smokers 12 of the 14 countries reported noticing a package warning in the last 30 days.
- The other two countries are India (78.4%) and Mexico (83.5%).
- Among smokers who noticed a warning, the percentage thinking of quitting because of the warning was greater than 50% in six of the countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Thailand, Ukraine and Viet Nam.
We are visual animals.
We believe our eyes over our ears.
Will these new cigarette pack warnings make a difference in our national smoking addiction? Or will they just wither away to become part of the blurred landscape of overwhelming artifacts raking for our attention?
If we hope to continue to be a smart country, we need to be proactive in protecting our health — and that means removing meaningless crutches, like cigarettes, from our common minds.
Why are we a slave to tobacco and smoke? Why do we need nicotine as part of our daily routine?
If we become vigilant in asking the right questions, we can begin the slow eradication of cigarettes from our lives and begin to celebrate the gift of fresh lungs and clean air for everyone.