News: Will more graphic cigarette warnings work?

Smokers will notice very graphic labels covering their cigarette packs starting next March. The new warnings will cover 75 percent

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Smokers will notice very graphic labels covering their cigarette packs starting next March. The new warnings will cover 75 percent of packs (currently, it’s only 50 percent). The 16 new photos unveiled by Health Canada Tuesday include a cancerous tongue, a man with a hole in his throat and a diseased heart.

The most memorable image for me is a photo of anti-smoking activist Barb Tarbox, dying of lung cancer. In the photo, Tarbox is gaunt and bed-ridden. It’s a powerful message, but will smokers take notice?

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq says, ‘Over time, people get used to seeing the old pictures so we want to grab people’s attention once again.’ She called the images ‘pretty gross’ adding, ‘That is the reality of smoking.’ Gruesome.

But will the warnings work?

‘The evidence is that the larger the size, the larger the impact,’ said Rob Cunningham, a policy analyst at the Canadian Cancer Society.

Australia is taking it a step further. There, the government has already proposed banning cigarette companies from displaying their logos on packs. Instead, all brand names are printed in the same nondescript font. The packaging is also going to be olive green, since market research has shown it’s the most unappealing colour to consumers.

Do you think the new labels will deter people from smoking?

– Marlene Rego, Web Editor

Related:
"How I quit smoking"
6 ways smoking affects your oral health
The dangers of third-hand smoke

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