Smoking Gets Ugly

“I have to believe,” said some seer several months ago, “that within five years every pack of cigarettes sold in this city will be mandated to include a piece of diseased lung affixed right to the front.” He may have been exaggerating for effect, but he was not all that far off.

Federal drug regulators unveiled 36 proposed new warning labels for cigarette packag on Wednesday, including some that are striking pictures of smoking’s effects.

Designed to cover half of a pack’s surface area, the labels are intended to spur smokers to quit by providing graphic reminders of tobacco’s dangers. The labels are required under a law passed last year that gave the Food and Drug Administration the power to regulate tobacco products for the first time.

You can find the warning labels at the FDA’s website. They’re all here: hole-in-the-throat guy, child at risk, toe-tag dude, skeletal cancer man, preemie, zipper-chest fella, weepy lady… it’s like a United Nations of tobacco victims. I’ll tell you what: As a smoker, I have no objection to this. I know I’m going to die. (So are you, non-smokers!) I don’t have any illusions that when I’m drawing that sweet nicotine into my lungs I’m actually doing something healthy for myself. So this is fine. I’m happy to see a little extra graphic design on my pack of cigarettes. It’s pretty bland right now, it’ll be nice for them to shake things up a bit.