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Warnings On New Cigarette Packaging Will Not Stop Smokers

06/23/2011

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its new requirements for cigarette packaging.  According to the FDA website, “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.”

Unfortunately the FDA is dead wrong.

I don’t smoke and I don’t like it when others smoke cigarettes around me. Tobacco use kills approximately 440,000 Americans each year, with one in every five U.S. deaths the result of smoking. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, causes many diseases, and compromises smokers’ health in general. Nicotine, a component of tobacco, is the primary reason that tobacco is addictive. I’m not  a proponent of smoking.

Marketing via packaging and labeling will not sway those addicted to cigarettes (or the nicotine therein). Sin taxes haven’t slowed smoking down. In my state, Minnesota, $1.57 in tax is added to every pack bringing the retail price to around $5 per pack.

I’m not an expert in addictions nor do I have any medical background. But as a marketer I know this is not going to work. We have nearly a full year for debate. It should be interesting.

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