This one definitely pulls on my public health heart strings. As part of the Tobacco Control Act and following the recent expansion of tobacco into FDA 'jurisdiction', cigarette packages and advertisements must now include color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of smoking. Travelers to Europe and Asia may be reminded of similar strategies, as several countries have had these requirements for years.
The regulations require that at least 50% of the real estate on the front and back of cigarette packs must be covered by the graphics, with 20% of the space reserved on other advertisements. The finals rules will be issued on June 22, and the new packages hit the shelf no more than 15 months after that date. Some health advocates are hesitant to pursue 'shock value' movements like this, but given the system-wide costs of addiction (in both personal health and health spending) and the industry's blatant targeting of vulnerable populations I can think of few more effective ways to both deter purchase and remind the populace of the severe repercussions tied to a product that cuts 443,000 lives short every year. Below are some of the better examples under consideration. What do you think?