Worth a Thousand Words: Graphic and Scary Cigarette Warning Labels

As I was heading back to Dulles Airport outside D.C. earlier today to catch a flight home, the cab driver had his radio tuned to a segment on NPR in which there were a couple of speakers from the U.S.  discussing the recent controversy over the relatively new product called Camel Orbs, which are small tablets that release a dose of tobacco nicotine.   One of the concerns is that young children and teens may be more susceptible to such a product because they appear to be like candy or mints.  A piece of flotsam that surfaced from this conversation was the observation that tobacco warning labels here are not very effective and that perhaps we should borrow from the Canadian example of requiring tobacco products to be labeled with very graphic images accompanied by direct and candid warnings of the related dangers.   This is in the spirit of a picture being worth a thousand words.  If you’ve been to Canada for even a short time these warning labels are hard to miss.  The above label is one of the more tame.  I’ve not tracked down the data, but I wonder if the percentage of Canadians smoking or consuming tobacco products is lower than that of the U.S. and, if so, whether the labels are part of the reason.

In case you haven’t seen any of these labels, here’s a link to many of these labels from the Health Canada web site:   http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/media/photogal/label-etiquette-eng.php

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