Bottom Line: Cigarette warnings

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The courts last year rightly struck down the federal government’s exceedingly graphic warnings on cigarette packs – which included, among other things, a depiction of a cadaver that’d been stitched up after an autopsy.

We understand the intent – to scare people out of smoking. But it’s a dangerous area when the government is taking over almost the entire labels of legal products, even cigarettes. Given even good intent, what else might the government start putting its own labels on?

That might work in other countries, but there’s a little something here called the First Amendment. Thank goodness.

The Justice Department announced in a recent letter that it won’t fight last year’s federal appeals court ruling striking down the government’s labels. The Food and Drug Administration will simply go back to the drawing board and try to come up with something that doesn’t violate the Constitution.

That’s all well and good, but we would ask: Why?

Why not just take all the government warnings off?

Wouldn’t that leave tobacco companies without the cloak of protection the U.S. Surgeon General provides? Wouldn’t it force the companies to consider issuing their own warnings – or face the consequences in lawsuits?

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see what, if left to their own devices, the cigarette makers would tell consumers?

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Bodhisattva
6464
Points
Bodhisattva 03/21/13 - 07:01 am
2
3
Definitely excessive
Unpublished

Definitely excessive government regulation. Who needs to know product ingredients, calorie counts, carbs, fats,....? They don't have to tell you the amount of feces or rat hair in products, why should they have to tell us anything else? Let them exercise their First Amendment rights: "Spam™ and Velveeta™, the foundation of a of a healthy diet!".

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/21/13 - 08:05 am
4
2
Is there anything wrong with
Unpublished

Is there anything wrong with letting the market determine what is on the label. If Brand X doesn't give you the ingredients, and the people want to know, but Brand Y DOES give you the ingredients....guess who wins the market share. But by all means....let's let Nanny decide for us......we are too stupid to decide for ourselves.

dichotomy
34359
Points
dichotomy 03/21/13 - 10:15 am
5
1
Funny, I haven't seen the FDA

Funny, I haven't seen the FDA mandating that all alcoholic beverages have pictures of drunks with their car jammed up under the back of a tractor trailer with their heads ripped off.......or laying dead on the sidewalk in a puddle of vomit.....or biopsied livers. My guess is that would not stop all of the beer drunks either. But since drunks are more socially acceptable and more numerous than smokers Nanny Government won't ostracize them.

And I happen to like Spam and Velveeta.

Is Bodhisattva really Techfan reincarnated?

dahreese
4743
Points
dahreese 03/21/13 - 10:16 am
2
2
"Wouldn’t it be fascinating
Unpublished

"Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see what, if left to their own devices, the cigarette makers would tell consumers?"

Not just cigarette makers, but corporations in general would lie all over the place without consumer protection and warnings.

And without government protections against corporate fraud and outright lying in advertising, the American consumer would be at the mercy of corporations - never really knowing what is in their food or what is the quality of the goods that they are buying.

And if the American consumer bought a bad product and wanted to sue the manufacturer, he or she most likely would not have the financial resources to do so against a corporation.

Nor should we forget that for years the tobacco industry lied through its teeth about the harmful effects of nicotine and fought right and left against the exposure of that.

Anyone wishing to be a little better informed should read the book, "Hidden Persuaders" by Vance Packard.

"Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see what, if left to their own devices, the cigarette makers would tell consumers?"

That would be a disaster!

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/21/13 - 10:41 am
2
2
See comment above about the
Unpublished

See comment above about the free market. If the people want it, the market will provide it.......or some other smart entrepreneur will. But if you prefer.....you can have Nanny government take care of you.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/21/13 - 10:41 am
2
2
Dichotomy...given the hit and
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Dichotomy...given the hit and run nature....I think you might be right.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/21/13 - 11:06 am
2
3
Is there anyone on Earth that
Unpublished

Is there anyone on Earth that doesn't know that cigarette smoking isn't good for you? I guess we need some more warnings to be mandated, because we are all too stupid to figure it out.

dahreese
4743
Points
dahreese 03/21/13 - 03:33 pm
2
4
"Is there anything wrong with
Unpublished

"Is there anything wrong with letting the market determine what is on the label."

It's ok with you to eat a little horse meat in with your hamburger as long as you don't know it?

Or eat a little outdated chicken that has been washed with bleach.

Research that one and then tell me we need to do away with government supervision of food and drugs/cigarettes - which is really what this editorial is all about, anyway.

Just more right wing malarkey.

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 03/21/13 - 04:12 pm
1
1
dichotomy's comment

Everything you said, I was thinking the same thing. And, I've been wondering about the "reincarnated" thing, too!

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/21/13 - 05:44 pm
2
2
Once again....read my comment
Unpublished

Once again....read my comment about the free market. The market provides what the customer wants....or a smarter businessperson will. But again.....if you prefer have the big Nanny take care of you, you have that right (until Nanny doesn't allow you to have any rights ironically enough.)

specsta
6592
Points
specsta 03/21/13 - 08:47 pm
2
2
No Rules, No Regulation

ACES wrote: "Why not just take all the government warnings off?"

I nearly snorted my buttermilk through my nose when I read this nonsense. Good one, Chronicle!

Oh, it wasn't meant to be...funny?

Well, how about this? Since we should rid ourselves of the cigarette warning labels, why stop there? Let's get rid of warning labels like "use in a well-ventilated area", or "do not ingest", or "highly flammable" or "must wear gloves when handling" or "cook product thoroughly".

Since we can trust corporations to do no wrong (Thalidomide and asbestos, anyone?), and since we are all such geniuses that we can figure stuff out for ourselves, maybe companies should be completely free of ALL government regulation. Let's toss out all the rules and trust the CORPORATION.

gargoyle
18553
Points
gargoyle 03/21/13 - 09:45 pm
0
1
dahreese I think you have

dahreese I think you have confused regulation with fraud. If I buy beef and get sold horse meat instead that is fraud. Anyone who misrepresents the product they sell should be held accoutable to the full extent of the law.

grouse
1635
Points
grouse 03/21/13 - 09:54 pm
0
0
We have seen what would
Unpublished

We have seen what would happen if the tobacco companies were left to self-label. There would be no warning labels whatsoever.

itsanotherday1
45338
Points
itsanotherday1 03/21/13 - 11:37 pm
2
0
There you go Gargoyle,

you hit the right chord. The government is trying to influence behavior with the cigarette graphics, which isn't in their purview. Tek, uh the other psoter did what he does, deflect the debate with unrelated blather.

I certainly support regulations enforcing truth in advertising and packaging. I consider myself a fairly astute consumer, but I can't sort out every product's content, etc., so I certainly don't expect others can either. We do need regulations to guarantee content, information on content, purity etc.; but we DON'T need government attempting to influence behavior.

itsanotherday1
45338
Points
itsanotherday1 03/21/13 - 11:47 pm
1
0
Specsta, you are mixing

Specsta, you are mixing apples and oranges IMO. There is a huge difference in legitimate safety warnings , and some of the bs the government and lawyers force on manufacturers. Who the heck doesn't know that an iron gets hot and you shouldn't touch it? Or a hair dryer can electrocute you if used in a bathtub? Or you can break your stupid neck if you fall off a ladder?

Why do we need government to ptotect us from our stupid selves? They need to protect me from YOU and you from ME.

PUPPYMOMMA
1353
Points
PUPPYMOMMA 03/22/13 - 12:04 am
1
1
Cigarettes already come with

Cigarettes already come with warnings on the pack. They even print a phone number if you would like more product information. I'm just surprised that they(manufacturers) are not required to have warnings written in Spanish, like everything else these days.

paladin5
299
Points
paladin5 03/22/13 - 11:29 pm
0
1
Wondering?

Wondering if the Alcohol Makers would put Drink Responsibily with a Picture of a Horrific Vehicle Accident with the bodies of a family hanging out after being hit by Irresponsible Drinker (DRUNK).

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/23/13 - 11:37 am
1
0
paladin5.......who needs that
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paladin5.......who needs that warning. Did you NOT know it could happen?

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 03/23/13 - 11:39 am
1
0
I wonder if abortionists
Unpublished

I wonder if abortionists should be required to show what an aborted child looks like?

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