Arts and Culture

U.S. gov gets tough on cigarette labels, but not really

When it comes to advertising that is geared to deter someone from something, the most effective -- and most often chosen -- tactic is to use images that scare the shit out of any would-be buyers or doers. This is often seen in political ads and AIDS awareness ads, and now it is finding its way onto U.S. cigarette labels. But the new government-mandated label -- ostensibly to get people to quit smoking -- for distribution in the United States seems a little tame compared to the labels required on some other countries' packaging.

Here are some of the proposed new US labels, which will cover nearly 50 percent of the package:

But sweet info-graphic telling you you're going to die is not nearly as effective as just a plain old photo of a rotting corpse. In that way, the U.S. could take a hint from Brazil or Iran, countries that aren't afraid to put legit, nasty-ass dying people on their labels. Let's run down a comparison:


Dead babies in ash trays? Dudes with their heads gashed open? Gangrene feet with missing toes? Step it up, American politicians, you're making us look all timid. Our soccer skills already don't help.


Does seeing this adorable kid next to some smoke just tear you up inside? Make you want to join the Peace Corp? I sense an ulterior motive.


Be glad you don't live in Iran, because it looks like cigarettes do much more damage over there than they do here.


Really, America? That's all you've got? That's poppycock compared to what New Zealand is bringing.

New Zealand

Yikes. There you have it. Our government officials think we're all a bunch of sissies and can't handle the gore. Or perhaps they don't want too many people to quit smoking, what with all the loss in tax revenue. Either way, the more-than-likely innocuous new U.S. labels, whichever they choose, will soon be plastered all over a cancer-stick pack near you -- if you're into that sort of thing.
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Ben Dayton
Contact: Ben Dayton