Target: U.S. Department of Justice
Goal: Support the Food and Drug Administration’s fight to add graphic warning labels to all cigarette packaging and advertisements and urge the Department of Justice to appeal the recent ruling against them.
On August 24th, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington made the decision to ban the federal government from requiring all major tobacco companies to add a large graphic health warning label to cigarette packages and advertisements. These images proposed by the Food and Drug Administration would show the dangers of smoking and encourage smokers to quit. The appeals court stated there is no evidence these graphic warnings would actually reduce the number of people smoking. However, images are very powerful and until these graphic warning labels are tested out on the American public, there is no way to be sure they won’t make a difference. It is worth a try since lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of American people and the harmful effects of cigarettes these images portray are very real.
Nine graphic warning labels were submitted by the FDA. One color image displayed a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat to show that even after all he has had to deal with because of his smoking habits, he is still addicted. Another picture shows a mother holding her baby while cigarette smokes wafts around the child’s head. This image references the fact that smoking not only harms your own body, but the health of your family and loved ones as well. The U.S Court of Appeals claimed that the case raised “novel questions about the scope of the government’s authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and undermine its own economic interest”. True, these labels set to cover half of each cigarettes’ packaging, back and front, would not be beneficial to the company’s profits and revenue. However, it is no more fair or just to encourage people to take up smoking by making it seem glamorous and cool as many tobacco ads do. These graphic warning labels and this case, if appealed through the U.S. Department of Justice, would lend a voice to the thousands of people who can see the negative impacts on the people they care about but either won’t listen to the dangers of smoking or are already too addicted.
Many other countries such as Australia and India have already implemented graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging and advertisements. The labels cover the majority of the packages and many of these countries’ health administrations are requiring that all brand logos and designs be removed, so that the only images potential consumers see are the images of healthy lungs compared to scarred and damaged lungs or other unappealing reality checks of smoking’s harmful consequences. Sign this petition and urge the U.S. Department of Justice to appeal the previous ruling and fight to ensure that all major tobacco companies are required to include graphic images on their packaging and advertisements. Millions of lives could be saved now and for many generations to come.
Dear U.S. Department of Justice,
The recent case ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington concerning the FDA’s proposed cigarette graphic warning labels must be appealed. The decision made intends to forbid the federal government from requiring nine different graphic health warning labels on all cigarette packaging and advertisements. These images would depict for potential buyers the devastating effects that cigarettes have on smokers, as well as the negative impact smoking has on their families and those they care about. Warning labels such as these are intended to unmask the dangers of smoking, and there is no reason not to at least try to protect the collective public health of America by implementing them.
A significant number of other countries have incorporated graphic warning labels on their packaging in order to encourage smokers to quit and prevent youth and adults from even considering buying the cancer-causing product. The appeals court stated that there is no evidence to show that this labeling system would be beneficial in reducing the number of American smokers. However, images are very powerful. It is no more beneficial to leave the warnings off of the packages of items that are proven to kill too many of their consumers. It is worth a try to add these graphic labels to the packaging and give them a chance to work. The addition of these labels could save thousands of lives each year. I urge you to appeal this case and help protect the public health of the United States for many more generations to come.
[Your Name Here]