WHO: Get more graphic with smokers

May 29, 2009 By BRADLEY S. KLAPPER , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Cigarette packages should include images of sickness and suffering caused by tobacco, along with written warnings, the World Health Organization said Friday.

The U.N. agency urged governments to make people more aware of the of . It said most countries still do not warn consumers of the risks on packages of cigarettes, cigars and other .

"Health warnings on tobacco packages are a simple, cheap and effective strategy that can vastly reduce tobacco use and save lives," said Dr. Ala Alwan, a senior WHO official. "Warnings that include images of the harm that tobacco causes are particularly effective at communicating risk and motivating behavioral changes, such as quitting or reducing tobacco consumption."

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, killing more than 5 million people worldwide each year. WHO says it is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer.

Warning pictures on cigarette and other tobacco packs have helped smokers kick the habit and prevented others from becoming addicted, WHO said. It cited studies of such campaigns in Brazil, Canada, Singapore and Thailand, and said they revealed "remarkably consistent findings."

But only a tenth of the world's population lives in countries requiring warning pictures, WHO said. It said governments needed to address that shortcoming as ignorance still prevails on the dangers of smoking.

For example, a study in China showed that barely a third of smokers knew they were at higher risk of heart disease and only 17 percent knew that smoking causes strokes, the agency said. In Syria, just a fraction of university students knew that cardiovascular disease was a hazard of cigarette or water pipe smoking.

WHO has taken an increasingly strong stance against tobacco in recent years. It sponsored a 2003 treaty to control tobacco use and has urged a world ban on smoking in indoor workplaces and public buildings. It also has said it will not hire any prospective employees who smoke or use other tobacco products.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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FreakTrap
3 / 5 (4) May 29, 2009
"WHO says it is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer."

They don't put pictures of dead people on bullets, so why does tobacco packaging need it?

"It also has said it will not hire any prospective employees who smoke or use other tobacco products."

That's pretty extreme. What about people who smoke pot, drink coffee, or drink alcohol? Do they screen for those substance abusers too?
paulo
not rated yet May 29, 2009
Diesel exhaust from trucks is as bad, if not worse, than tobacco smoke. Where are the warnings on these vehicles?
Bob_B
not rated yet May 30, 2009
Great, leave it to those government agencies to help/goad/prod people to stop smoking. We just voted to put even more taxes on those tobacco products. We're kicking ourselves in the ass. We pay WHO to help the world not to ruin our economy. Let smokers smoke and let the tax dollars flow.

We know just in the USA alone more than 10,000 people are killed by candles every year (including birthday candles), yet they are still sold to children. We need to put candles behind the counter with tobacco products under lock and key. We need to tax candles heavily to help pay for all the lives damaged by them. Candle makers should bare some of the responsibilities in this. They know candles can kill many people at a time.
Skepticus
not rated yet May 30, 2009
The solution is simple. If people are committed to their smoking, they should be required by law to put in extra amount of money through the tax system to cover the extra burden on medical costs to the health care system.
Velanarris
not rated yet Jun 01, 2009
The solution is simple. If people are committed to their smoking, they should be required by law to put in extra amount of money through the tax system to cover the extra burden on medical costs to the health care system.
It's called vice tax, and it's already there.

The tax dollars don't make up for the lost productivity due to poor health and the dozen smoke breaks per day smokers get.
Many studies have found that smokers are more productive than non smokers for a few reasons.

1)We complain about the weather less, and arrive at work in more adverse conditions, seeing as we have to spend some of our day in it being forced outside by non-smokers.

2)We get our tasks accomplished faster so we have enough work done so that we won't catch heat for having a cigarette.
The drain on the medical system due to cancer treatment, unnecessary treatment, the wasted land food crops could be grown on, blueberries can grow in poor soil where tobacco is grown.
No, no they can't. The sun is far too intense in those regions for blueberries, unless you're referring to the tobacco wrap leaf used on cigars.

I agree people can kill themselves if they want to but when their habit costs me money I don't care if they pout when a scary picture is put on their box of cancer sticks.
My habit costs you nothing. I pay a huge tax to smoke. Average cost of a pack of cigarettes sans vice taxes is between $0.50 and $1.25. Average price in a store after taxes is $7.00 countrywide.



If you want to start imposing health-based vice taxes, don't expect your coffee or alcohol to remain affordable.