Feds Want to Put Scary Pix on Your Cigarettes

11.10.10 Lauri Apple

The federal government is thinking about decorating cigarette packages with graphic pictures of dead people, dirty lungs, and sufferers of “chimney throat,” because they don’t want you to emit smoke from your neck (it’s bad form), or catch cancer. But cigarette makers are against this new public art campaign, because all the gross pictures will detract from their brands.

The Washington Post reports that the new warning labels would take up half the front and back panels of cigarette packs, and include both color pix and fun facts such as “smoking will kill you.” The Food and Drug Administration, which is spearheading the campaign along with the Department of Health and Human services, would choose the final labels next June after assessing input from the public, measuring survey results, and studying science. The cigarette makers would have 15 months to implement the new labels, after which everybody would stop smoking and either live forever or die from becoming too healthy.

Philip Morris, which is the nation’s biggest cigarette seller, actually backs the new labeling plan, because they say it will standardize the cig-making process. But other companies are standing by their brands; Lorillard Tobacco Co. is one company that’s suing the government about the new labels’ legality. “The tobacco makers in the suit had argued the warnings would relegate the companies’ brands to the bottom half of the cigarette packaging, making it ‘difficult, if not impossible, to see,'” the Post reports.

Here’s how you solve this problem: Get the folks in the pictures who are dying of chimney throat and lung cancer to wear t-shirts advertising the cigarette brands. That way, the warning labels can still be big, and the tobacco companies get their exposure.