In the US, tobacco products will soon feature new health and safety warnings, which stirrs up some dissatisfaction.
The recent decision taken by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) took tobacco manufacturers by surprise. Their goal is to have safety warnings mentioning the negative impact of tobacco use on all cigarette packs.
This action stems from the 2006 decision of Judge Gladys Kessler. According to this ruling, cigarette manufacturers concealed the dangers of smoking for years. The tobacco industry was therefore found guilty of misleading the public. In 2012, this ruling was confirmed by another ruling by Judge Kessler. Among the conclusions, we can read the following statement. « A federal court has ruled that the defendant tobacco companies deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking, and has ordered those companies to make this statement ». And on April 25, a U.S. Court of Appeals confirmed the fact that manufacturers must meet that requirement.
A group of tobacco cigarette users was constitued to determine what would be be the best warning sentence. The objective is to understand the opinion of the public on the relevance of such messages. On the FDA’s internet website, several options are already presented. This study will enable to better identify the most appropriate warnings to better inform the consumers.
Cigarette manufactures oppose this decision
Large tobacco manufacturers strongly condemn this decision. According to them, this action is a punition for past actions, which do not take place anylonger. Indeed, they believe that a law voted in 2009 prevents any crime from happening.
For David Sweanor, a law Professor of Ottawa University, « the proposed corrective warning statements have to be viewed not only in the context of being constitutional but also whether they can be effective in deterring smoking ». To fight against tobacco use, Sweanor reminds that substitute products can be really useful. E-cigarettes for instance can truly replace tobacco cigarettes without cravings all the while being less harmful.