Package Warnings Update…
U.S. government changes course on graphic cigarette warnings
Mar 20, 2013
By David Ingram
(Reuters) – The U.S. government has dropped its push for cigarette labels to carry images of diseased lungs and other graphic health warnings, and will craft new anti-smoking ads that do not run afoul of free speech rights.
In a letter to Republican House Speaker John Boehner last Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Food and Drug Administration would go back to the drawing board to develop the ads, as required by legislation passed by Congress in 2009.
Half the space on the front and back of each cigarette pack must be taken up by anti-smoking warnings and a large share of other printed ads should have similar discouraging messages, according to the legislation.
Cigarette manufacturers, however, sued to prevent the ads from appearing on the packaging for their products, saying such a move would curtail free speech rights. In August, a federal court struck down the requirement as unconstitutional.
The Justice Department was facing a deadline on whether to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review that ruling.
“The Department of Justice in this case has vigorously defended the constitutionality of the graphic warnings,” Holder wrote in the letter notifying Boehner, who is a smoker. Holder said the deadline for an appeal prompted the new approach.
Many other nations have for years used graphic images to try to deter smokers.
The FDA has argued that the images of rotting teeth and diseased lungs are accurate and necessary to warn consumers – especially teenagers – about the risks of smoking.
On Tuesday, the FDA used a blog posting to say the agency “will undertake research to support a new rulemaking consistent with the (2009) Tobacco Control Act.” (Additional reporting by Toni Clarke; Editing by Paul Simao)
Appeals Court Agrees That the FDA’s Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels Are Unconstitutional
Aug. 27, 2012
On Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that graphic cigarette warning labels proposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) violate the First Amendment. The court concluded that the labels, which would occupy half of each cigarette pack’s front and back panels as well as one-fifth of each cigarette ad, go well beyond the “purely factual and uncontroversial” disclosures that the Supreme Court has said the government may require to prevent “deception of consumers.” Instead, Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the two-judge majority, the labels “are primarily intended to evoke an emotional response,” thereby encouraging smokers to quit and deterring nonsmokers from picking up the habit. This anti-smoking message, she said, “raises novel questions about the scope of the government’s authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and undermine its own economic interest…How much leeway should this Court grant the government when it seeks to compel a product’s manufacturer to convey the state’s subjective—and perhaps even ideological—view that consumers should reject this otherwise legal, but disfavored, product?”
Assuming that “such compulsion is constitutionally permissible,” Brown said, it still must satisfy the test established by the Supreme Court for regulation of commercial speech: It must be narrowly tailored to serve a substantial government interest. “The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech,” Brown noted, “but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal.” Yet the FDA “has not provided a shred of evidence—much less the ‘substantial evidence’ required by the [Administrative Procedure Act]—showing that the graphic warnings will ‘directly advance’ its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.” Although the FDA “makes much of the ‘international consensus’ surrounding the effectiveness of large graphic warnings,” it “offers no evidence showing that such warnings have directly caused a material decrease in smoking rates in any of the countries that now require them.”
The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 required the FDA to create the new warnings, which feature disturbing images such as diseased lungs, an autopsied cadaver, a crying baby, and a man smoking through a hole in his throat, along with the phone number for the National Cancer Institute’s “Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines.” The D.C. Circuit was reviewing a decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who reached similar conclusions last February, although he applied “strict scrutiny” to the warnings instead of the “intermediate scrutiny” the appeals court deemed appropriate. In March the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld the statutory requirement for new warning labels, although it did not address the designs picked by the FDA.
Tobacco Groups Win Challenge to FDA Cigarette Label Rule
Aug 24, 2012
By Tom Schoenberg
Tobacco companies defeated a U.S. law forcing cigarette packaging and advertisements to display images such as diseased lungs, persuading a federal appeals court that the requirements violate their free speech rights.
In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today ruled that Food and Drug Administration regulations mandating visual-image warnings of smoking’s health risks, along with the telephone number 1-800-QUIT-NOW, are “unabashed attempts to evoke emotion” and “browbeat consumers” to stop buying the companies’ products.
“These inflammatory images and the provocatively named hotline cannot rationally be viewed as pure attempts to convey information to consumers,” U.S. Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote in her majority opinion.
Commonwealth Brands Inc., Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. sued the FDA last year, claiming the mandates for cigarette packages, cartons and advertising, passed as part of the Family Smoking Prevention and Control Act, violated the First Amendment.
The companies said in court papers that complying with the requirements would cost them a total of about $20 million. The mandate, scheduled to go into effect next month, was put on hold by a lower-court judge while the appeals court considered its legality.
The government argued in court papers that nine images selected by the agency to be placed on packages and advertisements are true depictions required by Congress in the law to show the negative health consequences of smoking.
The graphics were supposed to cover the top half of the front and back of cigarette packages and 20 percent of print advertisements. The FDA estimated the visual warnings would help lower the smoking rate by about 0.212 percentage points, according to the lower court judge who also ruled against the FDA.
Jennifer Haliski, an FDA spokeswoman, said the agency doesn’t comment “on possible, pending or ongoing litigation.”
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an anti-smoking group, urged the government to appeal the ruling, noting that a federal appeals court Cincinnati upheld the packaging requirements in March.
“The split decisions make it likely the U.S. Supreme Court will settle the issue,” the group said in an e-mailed statement.
During a Feb. 1 hearing before U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, Mark Stern, a Justice Department lawyer, compared the FDA’s proposed cigarette warnings to those on charcoal that advise people to not use it indoors, noting that 28 people a year die from carbon monoxide poisoning from using charcoal inside their homes.
With cigarettes, there are 440,000 deaths, Stern said.
“It’s very unusual to sell a product that when used as intended will kill you,” Stern said.
He said that the image of a man with cigarette smoke coming out of a tracheotomy hole in his throat conveys addictiveness.
Brown said the image could be misinterpreted to suggest that the procedure is a common consequence of smoking.
In a dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Judith Rogers said Brown’s opinion applied the wrong level of First Amendment scrutiny and disregarded the tobacco companies’ history of deceptive advertising.
Noel Francisco, a lawyer for R.J. Reynolds, a unit of Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), argued that “the purpose of the warnings is not to inform, but to scare consumers into adopting the government’s course of action.” He said during the February hearing that the government was using “threats and fear” to motivate people to stop using a lawful product.
FDA “failed to present any data” showing that the proposed graphic warnings “will accomplish the agency’s stated objective of reducing smoking rates,” Brown said in the opinion.
“The First Amendment requires the government not only to state a substantial interest justifying a regulation on commercial speech, but also to show that its regulation directly advances that goal,” she said in the ruling.
On Aug. 15, the High Court of Australia upheld that country’s requirement that cigarettes be sold in uniform packages barring display of company trademarks. New Zealand and the U.K. are among countries whose governments have indicated interest in implementing similar legislation, which takes effect in Australia Dec. 1.
The case is R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11-5332, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (Washington).
The Smoke Report Video: The Death Penalty for Smoking?
April 14, 2012
Those graphic cigarette ads the FDA tried to push on tobacco companies recently had a day in court.Watch
A Deep Breath For Free Speech
Nov 13, 2011
By Jeff Jacoby
THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION announced last year that harsh new labels, large and graphic, would soon have to cover half of the front and back of all cigarette packages and at least 20 percent of the space in all tobacco advertising. Included in each label would be a blunt warning — “Smoking can kill you,” for example, or “Tobacco smoke can harm your children” — plus a hard-hitting color image. Among the grisly pictures approved by the Food and Drug Administration: ravaged lungs; a corpse with an autopsy scar down its chest; a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; a diseased mouth with discolored teeth and cancerous lesions; and a woman sobbing with grief. Displayed on every image as well would be the toll-free number of the FDA’s smoking quit line, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
The explicit labels, which Congress authorized in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, were supposed to be in place by next September. Last week, US District Judge Richard Leon wisely said no.
The FDA’s gruesome new labels are not designed to provide consumers with useful information about the hazards of smoking. After 45 years of mandatory Surgeon General’s warnings, every non-comatose American knows perfectly well that cigarettes are a noxious health risk. That’s why the share of Americans who are occasional smokers has fallen to an all-time low of 19.3 percent, or less than 1 in 5 — a far cry from the more than 42 percent who were smokers in 1965. No one, not even Big Tobacco, disputes Washington’s right to require cigarette makers to disclose pertinent facts about their product’s dangers. Those disclosures, it’s clear, have been effective.
So why the shrill new labels? Not to inform Americans, but to indoctrinate them. To “grab people by the lapels,” as NPR put it last summer, “and be the visual equivalent of someone yelling: ‘Stop smoking!'”
Indeed, the FDA released a video describing the required new labels as “bold and powerful messages,” and FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters that with the new warnings in place, “every single pack of cigarettes in our country will in effect become a mini-billboard.” At a White House press briefing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the new regulations would amount to “rebranding” cigarette packs, transforming them to convey the message that “smoking is gross.”
But “smoking is gross” is opinion, not fact. Millions of Americans — including me — may share that opinion, but under the Constitution the government has no power to compel anyone to express it. Requiring vendors to post accurate information, the First Amendment allows; forcing them to promote the FDA’s anti-tobacco ideology, it forbids.
“The line between the constitutionally permissible dissemination of factual information and the impermissible expropriation of a company’s advertising space for Government advocacy can be frustratingly blurry,” acknowledged Judge Leon. But “here — where these emotion-provoking images are coupled with text [exhorting] consumers to call the phone number ‘1-800-QUIT’ — the line seems quite clear.”
In a memorable 1977 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Hampshire resident George Maynard, who had covered up the state motto “Live Free or Die” on his automobile license plates. Under the Constitution, the court held in Wooley v. Maynard, he could not be punished for doing so. Americans cannot be made to “use their private property as a ‘mobile billboard’ for the State’s ideological message.”
So in gloating that her agency’s strident new warnings were intended to convert every pack of cigarettes into an anti-smoking “mini-billboard,” the FDA commissioner was — presumably inadvertently — articulating precisely the goal that Wooley disallows.
Time and again the courts have made clear that compelled speech is as repugnant to the Bill of Rights as prohibited speech. Reasonable people can disagree over the point at which prudent consumer or public-health protections turn into patronizing nanny-state officiousness. They can disagree over whether urging Americans not to smoke — or not to eat junk food or watch violent movies or drink too much wine — is a wise use of government influence, time, and money.
But even the wisest policy must be constitutional. The FDA can rent billboards from sea to shining sea and fill them with the ghastliest smoking-is-gross messages it can dream up. What it cannot do is order tobacco companies to use their own products — their own lawful products — to advertise the government’s anti-smoking agenda. If the First Amendment means anything, surely it means that.
Judge blocks graphic cigarette label images
Companies have challenged the rule as unconstitutional because they argue it compels speech
WASHINGTON — Remember those shocking images that the FDA wanted tobacco companies to print on packages to deter smoking? A man exhaling cigarette smoke through a hole in his throat? A dead smoker on an autoposy table?
Well, a judge sided with the tobacco companies Monday, slapping a temporary injunction against the images.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that it is likely the cigarette makers will succeed in a lawsuit to block the requirement. He stopped the requirement until the lawsuit is resolved, which could take years.
Leon found the nine graphic images approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June go beyond conveying the facts about the health risks of smoking or go beyond that into advocacy — a critical distinction in a case over free speech.
The packaging would have included color images of a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat; a plume of cigarette smoke enveloping an infant receiving a mother’s kiss; a pair of diseased lungs next to a pair of healthy lungs; a diseased mouth afflicted with what appears to be cancerous lesions; a man breathing into an oxygen mask; a cadaver on a table with post-autopsy chest staples; a woman weeping; a premature baby in an incubator; and a man wearing a T-shirt that features a “No Smoking” symbol and the words “I Quit”
“It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start smoking — an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information,” Leon wrote in his 29-page opinion. He pointed out that at least some were altered photographs to evoke emotion.
The judge also pointed out the size of the labels suggests they are unconstitutional — the FDA requirement said the labels were to cover the entire top half of cigarette packs, front and back and include a number for a stop-smoking hotline. The labels were to constitute 20 percent of cigarette advertising, and marketers were to rotate use of the images. Leon said the labels would amount to a “mini-billboard” for the agency’s “obvious anti-smoking agenda.”
The Justice Department argued that the images, coupled with written warnings, were designed to communicate the dangers to youngsters and adults. The FDA declined to comment on the judge’s ruling.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, urged the Obama administration to appeal the ruling that he said “is wrong on the science and wrong on the law.” He said a delay would only serve the financial interests of tobacco companies that spend billions to downplay the health risks of smoking and glamorize tobacco use.
“Studies around the world and evidence presented to the FDA have repeatedly shown that large, graphic warnings, like those adopted by the FDA, are most effective at informing consumers about the health risks of smoking, discouraging children and other nonsmokers from starting to smoke, and motivating smokers to quit,” Myers said in a statement. “Because of that evidence, at least 43 other countries now require large, graphic cigarette warnings.”
Congress instructed the FDA to require the labels, following the lead of the Canadian regulations that require similarly graphic images on cigarette packs. The cigarette makers say their products have had medical warnings for more than 45 years, but that they never filed a legal challenge against them until these images were approved.
Tobacco companies are increasingly relying on their packaging to build brand loyalty and grab consumers. It’s one of few advertising levers left to them after the government curbed their presence in magazines, billboards and TV, and the graphic labels could cost them millions in lost sales and increased packaging costs.
The cigarette makers that sued the FDA are R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands Inc. Liggett Group, and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co.
Are new health warning labels on cigarette packages too graphic?
PHOENIX – Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue – along with two opposing sides on the topic.
Don’t worry, you always have the opportunity to make comments at the bottom of the page. Yeah, your opinion matters, too.
This week we’re tackling the debate on whether or not the new health warning labels on cigarette packages are too graphic and disturbing.
Wayne Tormala, bureau chief of the Arizona Department of Health Service Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease, says the FDA’s new, graphic warning labels are a proven way to educate smokers and others, including youth, about the dangers of tobacco use and encourage smokers to quit.
George Koodray with The Citizen’s Freedom Alliance, The Smoker’s Club, and The Metropolitan Society asks how everything got so carried away. He says the shocking images regrettably come as no surprise at a time when it’s open season on smokers.
So, are the new health warning labels on cigarette packages too graphic and disturbing?
“How did everything get so carried away?”: By George Koodray, U.S. assistant director of The Citizen’s Freedom Alliance, The Smoker’s Club and president of The Metropolitan Society, America’s oldest private cigar club.
The smoking debate in America has been an interesting one indeed. For the fervor against smoking has sent a number of American concepts falling by the wayside in a very big way in recent years. It’s things like choice, freedom and private property, yes private property, to name a few, that immediately come to mind. And, as is usually the case when it comes to the encroachment on smokers’ rights, not a lot running to our defense.
The most recent installment is shocking, graphic advertising that attempt to scare the wits out of us in an effort to save us smokers from ourselves. These kinds of images are not unfamiliar in the New York area, thanks to the efforts us former smoker and current mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Anti-smokers, not content with all of the messaging and severe warnings that they’ve succeeded in getting onto tobacco packaging in recent years, have decided that we all need more: shocking, graphic photos and other images of the frightening physical damage that smoking can cause.
As much as I have been involved with the debate, I think this issue was best encapsulated by my daughter a few weeks ago, who, when she saw one of these commercials asked me (without provocation, mind you) ”doesn’t everyone know that smoking isn’t good for you?” Yes, they do. But, not satisfied with all of the restrictions on businesses that have been imposed by local governments, the stern warnings on tobacco products and all of the accommodations made for scowling anti-smokers, the opposition had to go further.
Originally, the debate began, as most do in the public arena, with a completely different spirit. It was about “second hand smoke.” Remember that? Our leaders were most concerned about those upon whom smoke was being involuntarily imposed. Not all of the science agreed on the impact of second hand smoke, but the “accommodation” since has not been separated rooms, ventilation, you name it. It’s pretty much been wholesale bans, across the board, sometimes even for entire city limits.
Lost in all of the chatter now are principles such as the freedom people have to consume a perfectly legal product (which does much to fill government coffers in taxes). And, since the acrimony is directed against smokers, not many others will be quick to come to their defense. And, at the same time, we’ve been lulled into a dangerous new subtlety, the phrase “places of public accommodation,” which is often interchangeably used with “public places.” I don’t know about you, but the last time I looked a restaurant, or a bar or any other privately owned establishment is, well, private property.
So, while the images are shocking, regrettably they come as no surprise at a time when it’s open season on smokers and there’s no apparent limit as to the catch. Just imagine if these bomb throwers attempted to target with these kinds of images those who are overweight and may be vulnerable to the nation’s leading killer, heart disease, which is largely attributable to our diets.
Big Brother gets really ugly
New cigarette labels are enough to make you ill
June 26, 2011
It’s not unusual for the federal government to provoke widespread retching among its citizens, but it rarely does so intentionally. The new warning labels required on cigarette packs, however, have that goal. Designed to evoke disgust with smoking, they may also induce revulsion at excessive uses of power.
The old cigarette warnings inform consumers of straightforward facts, such as: “Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Complicate Pregnancy” and “Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.” Thanks in part to such labels, Americans today fully grasp that smoking is unsafe.
But the point of the new labels is not to ensure that potential and actual smokers understand the hazards of the habit and make an informed choice. The point is to get people to avoid cigarettes whether they want to or not.
The Food and Drug Administration finds it intolerable that despite all the efforts to stamp out smoking — through tobacco taxes, advertising restrictions, educational campaigns and smoking bans — nearly 50 million Americans continue to puff away. The hope is that repeated assaults with nauseating photos will kill the urge.
So anyone electing to smoke will have to run a gauntlet of horrors: a corpse, a diseased lung, rotting gums and a smoker exhaling through a tracheotomy hole.
All this is made possible thanks to legislation passed in 2009 and signed by President Barack Obama. If it sounds like the sort of bossy, intrusive, big-government approach championed by Democrats, it is. But it passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses, with most Senate Republicans in support.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius imagines that the FDA is filling an unfortunate information gap. With these labels, she says, “every person who picks up a pack of cigarettes is going to know exactly what risk they’re taking.”
By “every person,” she means every person who’s been trapped at the bottom of a well for the past 50 years. Everyone else already knew. Cigarette companies have had to provide health warnings since the 1960s. The current labels allow no fond illusions about the fate awaiting tobacco addicts.
Sebelius apparently thinks the health information has been widely overlooked. Not to worry. Vanderbilt University law professor W. Kip Viscusi has found that smokers greatly overestimate the risk of dying from ailments caused by tobacco. If the government wanted to make sure that Americans were accurately informed, it would have to tell them smoking is considerably less dangerous than they assume.
Our leaders think that since stark facts haven’t done enough to deter tobacco use, scary images are in order. The FDA predicts that by 2013, the new warnings will diminish the total number of smokers in the United States by 213,000.
Contain your excitement. The agency admits that the overall effect is “highly uncertain” and that its estimate could be way off. Even if its forecast comes true, the change would cut the prevalence of smoking by less than one-half of 1 percent.
As it happens, there is not much reason to expect even this microscopic reduction to materialize. Last year, researchers commissioned by the FDA exposed adults and teens to such images to assess the likely impact. Despite the emotional punch of the pictures, they didn’t seem to induce adults to stop smoking or deter teens from starting.
Based on the experience of other countries that have tried hideous photos, including Canada, Britain and Australia, Viscusi sees no grounds for optimism. “Smoking rates decline after the warnings but at the same rate as they did before the advent of warnings,” he told me. “The key for judging whether there is likely to be an effect is whether the warnings shifted the trend in smoking rates in these other countries, and they did not.”
Why not? Maybe because people already knew the risks. Maybe because most smokers enjoy tobacco enough not to care. Maybe because people soon learn to ignore the nasty pictures the way they tune out other warning messages.
The likely ineffectuality of this mandate does not discourage anti-tobacco crusaders. Its basic character, however, should spur everyone else to ask what business the federal government has interfering with a transaction between legal sellers and informed buyers who are minding their own business.
The new labels thrust the government further into gratuitous regulation of personal behavior, motivated less by medical concerns than moralism. Now, that’s ugly.
FDA unfairly maligns tobacco plant with graphic new cigarette warning labels
June 23, 2011
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
The FDA has released nine new graphic warning labels that will be required on U.S. cigarettes, offering grotesque visual images designed to dissuade smokers from purchasing cigarettes. At first glance, this might seem like a clever and effective strategy for reducing deaths from smoking cigarettes. After all, there’s a lot of scientific evidence that says smoking cigarettes is bad for you. But there’s something missing in this whole debate that neither the FDA nor health authorities dare talk about: there is a huge difference between smoking chemically-laced “processed” cigarettes versus natural tobacco leaves.
In the minds of most people, “cigarettes” and “tobacco” are synonymous. If cigarettes are bad for you, then so is tobacco, they believe. In fact, we’ve all been trained to use the terms interchangeably. If someone is “addicted to cigarettes,” we also say, without even thinking about it, that they are “addicted to tobacco.” But as you’ll learn here, tobacco is a plant while cigarettes are a highly processed product laced with a recipe of deadly synthetic chemicals.
“Tobacco” is not equivalent to “cigarettes” any more than an ear of corn is equivalent to a can of soda sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup.
Or, as another example, “tobacco” is not equivalent to “cigarettes” any more than a grain of wholesome wheat is equivalent to a loaf of processed white bread with chemical preservatives.
Cigarettes are not simply rolled tobacco leaves. They are tobacco plus a cocktail of other nasty additives and synthetic chemicals that don’t even exist in nature.
Tobacco is an amazing, miraculous plant with a multitude of uses, while cigarettes are highly processed, chemically-laced products made with filler and synthetic ingredients that no one in their right mind would smoke if they had any sense. The problem, though, is that no one in the FDA — nor the entire western medical profession, it seems — makes any distinction between natural tobacco and highly processed, chemically-laced cigarettes. To hear them say it, all cigarettes are equally bad for you, regardless of what’s in them (or not).
And that’s a critical oversight. Because the simple but unpopular truth is that smoking natural tobacco leaves, while clearly dangerous for your health, has nowhere near the health risks of smoking cigarettes made with chemical additives.
Do not misunderstand my position here: I am against smoking. Secondhand smoke really does harm children. Smoking anything on a regular basis is dangerous to your lungs and heart. As a natural health advocate, I strongly encourage people to quit smoking no matter what they smoke. But as a critical thinker, I must insist we all be honest about where the risks from smoking processed manufactured cigarettes really come from. The tobacco plant is being unfairly maligned in this entire debate, it turns out.
Why tobacco (the plant) deserves an honest assessment rather than radical condemnation
I’m not a proponent of smoking anything, and I don’t smoke any plant or product whatsoever. Even smoking natural tobacco leaves is not good for your lungs, but smoking processed cigarettes is far, far worse. I’m publishing this article because I can’t stand by and watch the FDA shamefully condemn an entire plant (tobacco) when the real culprit of all this health damage is not the plant itself but the toxic chemicals added to the plant in the manufacture of a cigarette.
Remember, the FDA, DEA and pharmaceutical industry has also viciously attacked another plant — hemp! And the hysteria leveled against hemp were all based on fabricated lies, fear mongering and a campaign of disinformation. Almost everything we were warned about hemp (and marijuana) turned out to be completely false, and a similar campaign of disinformation is being unfairly (and unscientifically) waged against the tobacco plant.
Blaming tobacco for the health ills of cigarettes is like blaming corn plants for the increased risk of cancer that comes from eating corn dogs. (The cancer increase actually comes from the presence of sodium nitrite in the processed meat, in case you were wondering.)
The brainwashing of the population on this issue of tobacco has been so successful that many people reading this article with react emotionally against the words presented here, in a knee-jerk reaction, insisting that tobacco (the plant) MUST be bad for your health because we’ve all been taught that for as long as we can remember! “Tobacco” is something we’ve been emotionally conditioned to react to without thinking… almost as if “tobacco = evil.”
But that’s a gross oversimplification. Because what really makes cigarettes dangerous are all the non-tobacco ingredients you’ll find inside.
What’s in a processed cigarette?
A typical cigarette contains a nasty cocktail of synthetic chemicals that don’t exist in a tobacco leaf. A total of 599 chemical additives have been approved for use in cigarettes (http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/nic
…), and when those chemicals are lit up and smoked, they can produce up to 4,000 chemicals that the user inhales.
Those are 599 chemicals that don’t exist in a natural tobacco leaf. You could actually remove all the tobacco from cigarettes and replace it with cardboard and the cigarette would still be just as deadly thanks to the all the chemicals and additives. The tobacco leaf itself has relatively little to do with the overall health effects of a typical processed cigarette. Smoking the burning vapors of synthetic chemicals is a form of slow suicide. But smoking an actual leaf of tobacco — absent chemical additives — is undeniably less dangerous to human health.
Also, as another way to look at this, consider this simple fact: Smoking SPINACH carries roughly the same health danger as smoking tobacco leaf. There is nothing particular special about tobacco that makes it any more carcinogenic than smoking any other leafy plant. The nicotine content, of course, makes tobacco highly addictive, but that’s different from the question of the toxic dangers of its smoke.
And yet if someone sold “spinach cigarettes” that combined dried spinach leaves with hundreds of toxic chemical additives into a cigarette, it would seem downright retarded to say that “spinach causes cancer.” And yet that’s the same language used with tobacco right now. How often have you heard the phrase “tobacco causes cancer?” Again, if we are to approach this issue with intellectual honesty, we need to differentiate between the natural tobacco plant and the highly processed manufactured cigarettes packed with toxic chemicals.
Chemotherapy is far more toxic than smoking cigarettes
Smoking toxic chemicals is about as idiotic as injecting them, and yet an entire medical industry now exists around the idea of injecting far deadlier chemicals than what you’ll find in cigarette smoke. It’s called chemotherapy, and it will kill you even faster than smoking an entire case of cigarettes a day.
Notice that the FDA does not require graphic warnings about chemotherapy? People vomiting, their muscles wasting away, their hair falling out and eyes looking hollow… that’s the true face of chemo, and those who undergo it and somehow manage to come out alive are actually “chemo survivors” more than “cancer survivors.” So why aren’t there graphic warnings about chemotherapy?
The answer, of course, is because in the medical mythologies that characterize modern western medicine, chemotherapy is labeled a “treatment” for cancer. This is a powerful example of the mythology of modern medicine because one of the most prominent side effects of chemotherapy is, believe it or not, CANCER!
So the “treatment” for cancer used throughout western medicine actually causes cancer. If the medical system is going to depart so far from rational thinking, they might as well just claim that smoking cigarettes is a “treatment” for cancer too. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that virtually the entire medical profession promoted cigarettes as therapeutic medicine that could whiten your teeth (seriously!), improve your mental focus and even make you popular with the ladies.
Don’t believe me? Read the Journal of the American Medical Association from just a few decades ago, where it carried full-page ads promoting the great health benefits of smoking cigarettes. “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette” was one of the most famous ads repeatedly run in JAMA. (http://www.naturalnews.com/021949.html
Eating certain types of processed food is just as dangerous as smoking processed cigarettes
Remember: Cigarettes are essentially processed smokes in the same way that the packaged factory-made food items at the grocery store are processed foods. In fact, some processed foods contain just as many chemical additives as processed cigarettes, yet people don’t even think twice about gobbling down a sandwich made from processed bread and extremely toxic processed deli meat made with known cancer-causing chemicals.
So why don’t you see the FDA releasing graphic labels that have to be placed on bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other processed meats that promote cancer? Because the FDA and the American medical establishment has declared war on tobacco while completely ignoring the health risks associated with toxic chemical additives in the food supply.
It’s no exaggeration: What cigarette smoke does to your lungs, processed packaged meat is doing to your pancreas and liver!
If the FDA was genuinely concerned about protecting consumers from deadly additives in processed products, it would require cancer warnings on bacon and hot dogs, diabetes warnings on soda pop and heart disease warnings on fried snack chips. There should be warnings about MSG, aspartame, sodium nitrite, partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils and artificial food colors. But there are no warnings whatsoever for those chemicals in the food supply, which just goes to show you that the warning labels on cigarettes have more to do with politics than public health.
The FDA, it seems, is very selective about which poisons it wants you to know about versus those it wants to keep quiet. If the FDA had any actual ethics, it would warn consumers about ALL the toxins in foods, beverages and consumer products, not just a very small number of selected ones that are convenient targets.
The FDA even goes out of its way to force natural cigarette companies to lie in their marketing materials about how dangerous smoking tobacco can be for your health. Natural American Spirit cigarettes, for example, which are made with no chemical additives whatsoever, are required to state, “No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.” (https://www.nascigs.com
Actually, it does. Reducing the chemical additives reduces the carcinogens in the cigarette smoke. It’s basic chemistry. If you inhale fewer toxins, it’s less carcinogenic. The FDA does not seem to get this. Of course, the entire medical industry doesn’t even acknowledge any difference between LIVE foods versus DEAD foods, so this shouldn’t be surprising. In fact, the FDA is waging war against live foods such as raw milk, raw almonds and fresh vegetables, which just goes to show you how deeply committed the agency is to dead foods (which lead to dead people).
Please don’t misunderstanding my position on smoking, by the way. Smoking anything is carcinogenic due to the chemicals produced by burning anything. I don’t smoke, and I don’t advocate smoking even natural tobacco. Smoking is a nasty habit for lots of reasons, and I strongly support the anti-smoking laws that prevent people from lighting up in public places (but I fully support someone’s right to light up in their own home if that’s their choice). But as an award-winning journalist who consistently exposes the hypocrisy in the medical establishment and the FDA, I must point out that the greatest health dangers associated with smoking cigarettes come from the chemical additives and “filler” ingredients in those cigarettes, not the tobacco leaf itself.
The FDA’s new cigarette warning labels may be quite gross, but what’s really sickening is how the FDA utterly refuses to outlaw the truly dangerous additives in the food supply and the personal care products industry. While the agency wages war on tobacco, it openly allows hundreds of known chemical poisons to be used in foods, lotions, shampoos and beverages. It’s “commitment to public safety,” it turns out, is strictly limited to efforts that target just one industry — the tobacco industry.
What the FDA doesn’t bother telling you is that even if you don’t smoke, all the toxic chemicals in the processed meat you’re eating will probably kill you anyway. Where’s the graphic warning label on hot dogs?
The Attack on Dignity and Moral Autonomy: The Case of Cigarettes
Jun 27, 2011
By Mario Rizzo
The latest in the paternalistic actions of the federal government are a kind of reductio ad absurdum. At least this is how it might have seemed ten or fifteen years ago if someone would have said that cigarette-pack health warnings would become graphic pictures designed to horrify the public into not smoking.
What is especially interesting about this development is the subtle change in arguments over the years about the purpose of government interference in this area.
1.In the beginning we had the Surgeon General’s Report simply warning people about the health consequences of cigarette smoking. Of course people realized that cigarette smoking was harmful even before the 1962 report.
2.Then we had fairly general warnings about “hazards” to health. In fact, at first it was simply said that smoking may be hazardous to one’s health.
3.Warnings evolved to include mention of specific illnesses.
All of this is the provision of information, although with the warnings on the package itself the idea was to remind people at the moment of purchase.
Why was it perceived by some that the provision of information, even at the moment of sale, is not sufficient? Why must we move to dramatic presentation of low-probability events? (Most people who smoke do not turn out as the photographs suggest, and many people who do not smoke will have breathing tubes, feeding tubes and nasty medical procedures sometime before they die.)
There are two answers to this question. The first is the “scholarly” answer.? Behavioral economists tell us that many people exhibit “optimism bias.” This is the cognitive attribute in which the person simultaneously realizes that the probability of, say, getting ill from tobacco smoking is p but that this population frequency does not apply to him. It does not apply to him for “magical reasons.” He has good luck and so forth. So the probability of getting ill is for him (significantly?) less than p.
In view of this, some behavioral economists have suggested that policy makers use another cognitive bias – “availability bias” – to offset the optimism bias. Availability bias refers to the exaggerated fear and estimate of the probability of harm when one is confronted with, say, a plane accident or instance of terrorism. After a plane accident many people think that the probability of dying in a plane crash is much higher than a cool statistical analysis would suggest.
So now let us put the two biases together and construct a policy. Telling people that smoking is dangerous – even providing people with statistics – is not enough. They will still think that their personal good luck will save them. So we must use their availability bias. We must make the images of a horrible death so available to their minds that they are jolted out of their optimism bias.
But wait. There is evidence that smokers already think that the probability of death and illness from smoking is higher than it really is. So it is unclear what optimism bias does here. Perhaps it just offsets it? In addition, how scary should the advertising campaigns be? Theoretically, they should just be scary enough to offset the optimism bias.
Thus we need to know the effective personal probability the individual places on disease from smoking and the degree to which the scary graphic offsets that.? Bottom line: We do not have this information nor are we likely to get it soon.
The second answer follows from the practical irrelevance of the first.? The campaign of scary pictures, scenarios and the like, will be deemed successful only when cigarette smoking is reduced to an extremely low level. The “optimum” is not well-informed decisionmaking by morally autonomous agents.? It is doing what the paternalist thinks you should be doing or not doing. Case closed.
So the whole campaign is an insult to the dignity of the individual. It is an attack on the older principle of informed choice. It does not respect individual moral autonomy.? It is an example of the sickness of modern American society.
Cigarette Health Warnings
Beginning September 2012, FDA will require larger, more prominent cigarette health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States.? These warnings mark the first change in cigarette warnings in more than 25 years and are a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking.
View Final Warnings
The final set of cigarette health warnings contains nine different text warnings and accompanying color graphics to
•?increase awareness of the specific health risks associated with smoking, such as death, addiction, lung disease, cancer, stroke and heart disease;
•?encourage smokers to quit; and
•?empower youth to say no to tobacco.
June 21, 2011
By Charles Hurt,The Washington Times
For decades, the federal government has accused tobacco companies of running a campaign of relentless deception in order to sell cigarettes and convince customers that their product will make you sexy, skinny, cool or whatever.
On Tuesday, the government unveiled its latest salvo in its campaign against these companies.
Tobacco peddlers will soon be forced to emblazon every package of their product with graphic new warnings that show what the government says will happen to you if you smoke cigarettes.
One warning shows a cadaver lying on a steel table, chest zipped closed by giant staples. Another, a pair of nastily corroded lungs. In another image, an infant is confined to an incubator and hooked up to a breathing tube. In one startling image, a man is puffing on a cigarette with wisps of smoke escaping a tracheotomy hole in the center of his throat.
There is only one problem with the federal government’s great campaign of graphic images aimed at combating the deceit of tobacco companies and rescuing us from our stupid selves.
The images are fabricated.
“Some are photographs; some are illustrations,” a spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services explained to me Tuesday when I called about the new pictures.
The dead man with the zipped-up chest? “It’s not a dead body,” the spokesman assured me. “It’s an actor. It’s supposed to be a cadaver after an autopsy.”
The man with the wispy smoke coming out of the hole in his throat? “That’s a Photoshopped illustration.”
The baby in an incubator is a creepy drawing.
As for the corroded lungs? Who knows, given their track record so far? Maybe it is a real picture and that of a smoker. Or, perhaps they are the lungs of someone who handled asbestos in a Navy yard for the federal government. Or maybe it is altogether faked.
The government unveiled the bogus pictures at a White House event staged to look like a press conference.
William Corr, a deputy secretary at HHS, lamented the formal setting, saying: “We should be having a party to celebrate!” He went on to testify how the new pictures “tell the truth.”
Another government official called the tobacco company advertising “non-factual and controversial.” The government’s falsified pictures, he said, “speak the truth.”
Not that these government officials had to defend themselves or their campaign from anyone sitting in the audience section. Most questions began with a glowing congratulations or an emotional thank you.
“What languages will be available on the quit line?” inquired one of the questioners about the hotline number that will be plastered beneath each of the haunting images.
The gruesome nature of the pictures call to mind the deeply disturbing and bloody pictures pro-life protesters blow up and carry on picket signs outside political events.
A tiny fist, clenched as if around a finger – or in agony – ripped from its wrist, trailed by bloody veins. Or the unmistakable image of a baby’s face, squished and distorted and wrenched off its skull.
Few people find themselves exposed to these horrific images more often than reporters here in Washington, who travel the countryside chasing after political candidates.
When a bus full of reporters pulls into a political rally, these pictures bob up and down right at bus window level. A quiet falls over everyone.
Reporters recoil internally and give a shiver. They look away from the windows. One will invariably spit, “That should be illegal.”
Visually, in terms of repulsiveness, there is little difference between the tactics of the abortion protesters and those of the federal government. In fact, the only difference is that the government doctored its pictures.
And you paid for them.
The Black Pig Lung Hoax
It was an outright bald-faced lie.
“Pankiw described the centerpiece of his anti-smoking display as the diseased lung of a 150-pound man who smoked for 15 years. Actually, it was a pig’s lung shot full of various carcinogens on purpose, but, Pankiw said later, his lesson was made stronger by not passing along that tidbit of truth.”
International Smokers Rights Conference
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
June 27-29, 2005
Read what was presented by The Smoker’s Club in 2005.
Listen to Luc Martial saying that Canada forgot to check the facts on their new cigarette packs! They had to look around after the packs came out to find any doctor who would sign off on the facts with no checking.
Package Warnings Worldwide
More Package Warnings Articles from The Newsletter