You've probably heard about the latest labeling requirement by the FDA and the Federal Government to the Tobacco industry. They are requiring graphic photos to be displayed on the exterior of each pack. This is an excerpt from the Associated Press:
Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette labels.... saying the warnings violate their free speech rights and will cost millions of dollars to print.
The companies.....said the warnings no longer simply convey facts to allow people to make a decision whether to smoke. They instead force them to put government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently on their packs than their own brands, the companies say. They want a judge to stop the labels.
"Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products.".....
The FDA approved nine new warnings to rotate on cigarette packs. They will be printed on the entire top half, front and back, of the packaging. The new warnings also must constitute 20 percent of any cigarette advertising. They also all include a number for stop-smoking hotline
One warning label is a picture of a corpse with its chest sewed up and the words: "Smoking can kill you." Another label has a picture of a healthy pair of lungs beside a yellow and black pair with a warning that smoking causes fatal lung disease.....
The companies also said the new labels will cost them millions of dollars for new equipment so they can frequently change from warning to warning and designers to make sure the labels meet federal requirements while maintaining some distinction among brands.
The free speech lawsuit is a different action than a suit by several of the same companies over the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The law, which took affect two years ago, cleared the way for the more graphic warning labels, but also allowed the FDA to limit nicotine. The law also banned tobacco companies from sponsoring athletic or social events and prevented them from giving away free samples or branded merchandise.
A federal judge upheld many parts of the law, but the companies are appealing.(Emphasis added.)
Did you notice? Nowhere does it say that the manufacture of cigarettes is illegal. Nowhere does it say that the use of cigarettes is illegal. Nowhere does it say anything about stopping government subsidies to tobacco farmers. Nowhere does it say a word about replacing the tax income the government will lose should all the smokers actually quit smoking and thus stop paying the exorbitant taxes we are currently paying. And definitely no mention was made of what they plan to tax next to replace the lost revenue.
Nope, they just want tobacco companies to put horrible photos on their own LEGAL product in the hopes that will make smokers stop buying cigarettes. Photographs that newspapers couldn't print or networks couldn't shown on television.
"Well, why not??, some might say. "Those smokers are insensitive, unfeeling, uncaring, oblivious clods who won't do what we tell them to do!! They just go around blowing second hand smoke in the faces of babies!! They deserve to see ugly graphic frightening photos. And those big ole tobacco companies can just go ahead a pay for the photos on their own products. So there!!!
May I just point out that:
1. Automobiles are not required to include photos of accident victims in their cars.
2. Liquor companies are not required to include photos of corpses of victims of drunk drivers with their products. Nor are they required to prominently display AA's phone number!
3. Gun manufacturers are not required to show every hunter or marksman pictures of a bloody human body riddled with bullets shot "by mistake".
4. Are life insurance companies required to print in big, black letters, "NOTICE: Someone must die before any money can be collected from this policy!" Of course not.
5. In fact, I cannot think of any other product or service which is required to try to convince people NOT to buy their product. It would be absurd and ridiculous to even suggest such a thing.
If the courts do NOT strike down this ruling, it will pretty much mean that the U.S. Constitution which talks about FREEDOM is no longer the fundamental and functional "rule book" for America.
Freedom will no longer mean what it means now. Freedom will be only for those who let the fanatics dictate the rules.
Gee, does that remind you of anything?? or anyone????
P.S. In the city of Austin and much of the surrounding area, there is no smoking allowed anywhere inside any public building of any sort. There is nowhere for a smoker to have a cigarette sitting down in any enclosed space out of the sun, the heat, the rain, or whatever. That is why you will see so many people smoking in their cars or garages. You can't smoke in your own house without affecting it's resale value! There isn't anywhere else. As much as I would hate to see it happen, I wouldn't be surprised if it is soon like that all over the country.
So, where is all this secondhand smoke that is being blown around that the fanatics are so worried about?? I'd like to go there and maybe I'd find a place to sit down inside to smoke!