New Cigarette Warning Labels — The FDA Got this one Right

Distance: 40.07 miles
Time: 2:01:56
Average Watts: 180 watts
Normative Power: 201 watts
Average Heart Rate: 158 bpm
Total Work: 1,315 kJ
Average Speed: 19.7 mph

Oh the difference that 24 hours will make. As bad as the ride was yesterday I had almost a perfect ride today. I was on the bike by 6:00 a.m. and started out just soft-pedaling and kept the watts under 180 for the first three miles. I started to push the pace after that and decided I would go harder until I started feeling crappy but miracle or miracles I felt strong up to the turn around. At that point I decided to just cruise right around 190 watts and take it home and I felt fantastic. For the last 10 miles I pushed the pace right around 23.0 mph all the way home.

I got some great suggestions from my people Twitter of how to help this damn dry cough that is plaguing me and it seems to be working. The wife turned on a humidifier last night and I slept like a baby — I really needed that restful sleep. I took a ton of Vitamin D, and some colloidal silver. Someone suggested Oil of Oregano, but I haven’t made it to the health food store to buy any of that. I should make it this afternoon and I hope it adds to the solution. One thing is for sure — a head cold sucks.

But I am feeling much better for the Triple Bypass now. I didn’t push the pace that hard for most of the ride and I felt good at the end. I think by the end of the week I will be feeling much better and will back to pushing the pace. I really needed today’s ride and results.

FDA Requires New Warning Labels on Cigarettes

To start, you have to know that my Grandpa Montee was a lifelong tobacco user. He dipped Red Man Chew, which doesn’t come in a pansy can. The stuff comes in a pouch because it consists of tobacco leaves instead of shredded up crap. He also got cancer later in life. I am about sure he knew tobacco use caused cancer, but that fact did not motivate him to quit. You can read more about his struggle here.

Now I am not a smoker nor have I ever smoked habitually. I actually tried cigarettes once in high school and really did not see what the big deal was. I thought they tasted horrible, I never got a buzz, and I knew what they would do to you. The reason I tell you this is to inform you that I may or may not be the best person to advocate for the tobacco industry. I am an advocate of free market economics, but when the product is harmful to the user I do think the government has a level of responsibility to inform the consumer and let them make an informed decision. If someone wants to smoke, as long as they are not hurting anyone else (we could talk about that for days), I don’t have a problem with them smoking. When they become a drain on the health care system because of their decision to smoke, I do have very little sympathy.

Regardless of where you sit on this topic, you have to admit the new cigarette warning labels are really edgy. I actually like that they include powerful graphics instead of that lame text that all packaging was required to contain. The images are required to be displayed on the top 50% of both the front and back of the package and also included in ads related to smoking. The FDA projects that these labels will “have a significant public health impact by decreasing the number of smokers”. I would guess that if it helps motivate one person to quit or prevents one person from starting, it has a significant public health impact. Take a look at some of the more effective lables:

I think in a world that is motivated on some level by vanity and the way we look, this label will help users see the impact that smoking may have on their teeth and then there is the issue of that nasty sore in the right corner of the mouth. Nasty. Here is the next one…

Again, since this image targets the way someone looks, I think it will be effective. I love the fact that what looks like a gal is on oxygen and is clearly having medical issues. I would like to know if she really has those issues or if this is an actress.

Not so effective. People are more motivated by loss than the potential for gain, so while this tough guy looks somewhat cool, reducing the risks to your health may not be as good of a motivator as the other two images I posted above. I would give this image a 5 on a 10 point scale.

I don’t know why, but this is my favorite image. I do wish they would have not cropped it so close and used a stainless table — almost like they had just finished the autopsy. The contrast might have been a little better and I think it would have been just a little more offensive. Isn’t that what we are aiming for here?

Now I will tell you this — I think the new cigarette warning labels are a step in the right direction. I do think they are an effective piece in an overall public policy related to cigarette use. I am not sure I agree with the FDA’s assertion that they will have a significant impact on public health. I have read studies that show probably the best way to get someone to quit isn’t advertising but additional taxes levied on use. If you impact the end user in their wallet, they will be more motivated to quit. These studies have show that the high the tax, the higher the impact on the number of people who quit smoking. I don’t think that these new cigarette warning labels are the cure-all that some are touting them to be, but they are another step in the journey.

I know I have a couple of readers who are proud ex-smokers — why did you quit? What really motivated you?

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...