I don’t know how many times I’ve bellowed, enraged, “this has to stop” in my lifetime; no matter the number, it seems like the frequency has been increasing in the past year or two. The latest trigger? News that, within three years, the FDA is expected to require graphic warning labels on cigarette packages.
That’s a Canadian label. Many countries, from Australia to Brazil to the UK, require a similar graphic warning. Others require large text warnings instead. Decaying teeth aren’t the only images proposed or present on packs around the world;
I know defending smoking is tantamount to defending the Holocaust (hey! Why not just put pictures of concentration camp victims on cigarette packs while we’re at it?), and I don’t even know why tobacco regulation sends me into such a righteous fury. Maybe it’s the rank hypocrisy of the whole thing. Jesus hated hypocrites too, after all, so it’s cool. You see, the government is more addicted to nicotine than any four-pack-a-day smoker is:
If cigarettes were sooo terrible for the “public health,” the infallibly benevolent government could have simply banned them. But like a strung-out junkie, government depends on people’s addiction to nicotine for its next fix.
But politicians like to have their cake and eat it too. Flavors (other than menthol, thanks to the Congressional Black Caucus) are soon to be banned; nicotine levels will be regulated (oddly, nicotine, the addictive substance, not tar, the harmful substance, will be controlled); packs will be so repulsive looking that most smokers will probably begin mentally blocking all warning labels out of revuslsion. Big tobacco companines, realizing that their market share is not threatened by regulations, will gladly co-author ever more restrive legislation. And polticians’ wallets will get fat by extorting ever-larger sums of money from smokers while paying lip service to an anti-smoking agenda.
There’s something deeply wrong with all of this, though, and it’s not just government hipocrisy. It’s the fact that the government is treating all of us like a bunch of children. Perhaps that’s why I get royally steamed every time the government enacts some niggling little regulation like graphic cigarette warning lables, and merely righteously indignant when the same government nationalizes two automakers or loses track of billions of tax dollars given to banks.
When some idiot bureaucrat at the FDA uses some study conducted by some self-important morons with P.h.D.s to determine that it’s okay to demand private companies comply with arbitrary rules and regulations for my own safety, I feel truly insulted. Smokers and non-smokers alike should see this blatant patronization for what it is, and realize that by mandating labels like the one pictured above, the government is effectively telling you that you are too damn stupid to make wise decisions on your own.
No, I’m not being hyperbolic. That’s exactly what those bureaucratic slugs believe; they really think they know what’s best for you. It you’re such a dunce that you feel safer with the FDA regulating tobacco, then that’s too bad, but don’t make me deal with your problems via government intervention. If you think that you’re wise enough to make good decisions, but believe that the masses are too dumb to do so, then I think you have some projection issues that you’d best examine.
Incidentally, I’ve got an image that would be more effective than blackened lungs at deterring tobacco use. And with the passing of the last of the Kennedy boys, I feel it would be a fitting tribute:
Teddy would rest sound in the knowledge that his image was advancing the public good, or something.
And since fast food is next after tobacco, we could put this image on every Big Mac and Whopper wrapper:
Surely the government won’t let beer and liquor slip under the suffocating security blankie of protective regulation, so I propose that this image be affixed to every alcoholic beverage:
You wouldn’t even have to put a text warning lable on the pack/wrapper/bottle if those images were to be used; such a warning would only detract from the horrifying image of the old Lion’s man boobs.
Come to think of it, those labels would probably be too effective. Those sin tax dollars aren’t going to extort themselves, after all.