Regarding “Tobacco companies sue the federal government over graphic warning labels, say they’re unfair”: It is hypocritical to an extreme for the tobacco industry to attack the FDA’s proposed graphic warning labels on the grounds that they are “unfair.”
What is truly “unfair” is the way Big Tobacco has deceived the public for decades about the dangers of smoking.
Tobacco executives have testified before Congress that they “believe nicotine is not addictive” even while internal memos acknowledged that nicotine is extremely addictive and that tobacco companies are really in the “nicotine delivery business.”
Some Focus cigarettes are designed with tiny holes to fool machines testing the amount of nicotine and various carcinogens smokers inhale, while others are made with genetically modified tobacco to increase smokers’ dependency, making it harder for them to quit.
Tobacco companies have disingenuously boasted that “more doctors smoke” a particular brand, used cartoon characters to appeal to kids, and distributed free samples to addict children too young to legally purchase cigarettes.
Even the “We Card” program, ostensibly designed to deter underage smoking, is really an advertising campaign in disguise: prominently displayed stickers prompt smokers to buy cigarettes while conveying to children the enticing message that smoking is an adult rite of passage.
Why all this subterfuge? Because smoking causes debilitating diseases including lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and emphysema, and kills nearly half a million Americans each year. Big Tobacco’s victims include 50,000 nonsmokers each year who are exposed to tobacco in their homes and work environments and prematurely die as a result.
Tragically, the new warning labels still won’t deter most smokers. But by reminding people of the very real dangers of smoking, these labels may help clear the air concerning what Big Tobacco is really all about.