Tuesday, December 7

New Cigarette Packaging

The FDA is ramping up its game to get smokers to stop smoking. The government organization is seeking to release new guidelines for cigarette advertising and packaging, the first in 25 years, with a direct aim toward scaring people away from tobacco.

It's a bold move, let me tell you. The FDA is selecting a range of horrific images to be depicted directly on the cigarette packaging (and in the advertising) showing people who have suffered from the ravages of cigarettes. One version has a visual of a terminal cancer patient with copy that says "cigarettes cause cancer."

You can view some of the proposed images in this article. Warning: its pretty out there. The FDA is currently selecting the images and seeking public comment, with the goal of having 9 different images ready to roll into the market by 2012.

I am not a smoker, and never have been. I have family members and friends who have suffered greatly from cigarettes. I am all for fully communicating the health ramifications of smoking so that consumers are fully aware of what they are getting into. I don't have any data, but I think people are pretty aware of the dangers. The question is will a very bold and graphic reminder every time they dip into a pack help people to stop smoking?

Do we need to go this far? I'm honestly not sure how I feel. On the one hand, I don't want anyone to smoke. But on the other hand, this is a legal consumer product and I'm not sure that the government should go this far in dictating packaging design. Warnings on the effects, sure, but packaging design? Should we do the same with alcohol and firearms?

What's your experience? Jim.


  1. Nicely worded... mixed feelings here too...

  2. I know, it's a tricky one. And a slippery slope. Jim

  3. Yes, cigarettes cause cancer. Apparently, the government thinks it causes stupidity, too. People know the ills of smoking; if they don't, educate them.

    If this is the track they're taking, I can't wait to see the hardened liver they are going to make liquor bottles show and rotting intestines on Sweet and Low boxes.

    Only good thing I can see from this is someone in government will stand up to Big Tobacco.

  4. Negative messages on cigarette packages are most effective for non smokers. Everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you. People who smoke ignore it, people who don't smoke appreciate being reminded. Smokers need to be reminded how their lives will be improved when they quit.
    (I found this from a research project I did in university. I'm not much of a scientist, but I think it makes sense)

  5. I think this is a good idea. Yes everyone knows the harmful effects of cigarettes but i think if some of the horrific images are shown on the box then it is going to keep younger non smokers from smoking. Half of the appeal of smoking is the marketing and with packaging like that no one is going to want to buy cigarettes.

  6. Great points. Since so much is done at the "point of purchase", I wonder if that last minute look at the packaging will sway someone's opinion and get them not to buy ... this time! Jim.