If you enjoy lighting up, you likely have a brand of tobacco that you favor for your cigarettes. In spite of all of the evidence that we have against smoking, millions of us still enjoy this untimely, smelly vice.
When we head into the store to buy a pack of our favorite brand, we usually associated that with a font size, a color type and a packaging element. But that's all about to change in what the WHO says is a "go global" move designed to help reduce smoking rates.
Already in place in the UK, France and in Australia, these plain packages barely resemble the brands you know. Instead, they inform you that you are going to get a very serious illness from smoking and reinforce that notion with a graphic picture of what you can get.
According to the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association, this is being "driven more by dogma than hard fact."
About six million people are killed worldwide from smoking each year. The CDC says that one in five deaths in the US are a direct cause smoking.
The WHO says that rebranding packaging to make it graphic will deter people from smoking, reduce the glamour associated with it and ultimately decrease smoking rates.
Such packaging was introduced in Australia in 2012. Since that date, about 0.55% less people smoke, or about 108,000 people. It's unsure if they stopped smoking because of the packaging, however.
Big Tobacco contends that smoking rates remain relatively unchanged when packaging is altered and that the current warnings on package suffice.
Duh, smoking is bad for you. So is doing a lot of things. Leading an unhealthy lifestyle of any type increases your cancer risk drastically. But you don't see a warning sign on a box of French fries at your favorite fast food joint showing you a graphic image of what cancers and diseases obesity and clogged arteries cause?
For that matter, over 32,000 people die in car accidents in the U.S. annually. But you don't see a gruesome picture of a mangled wreck and twisted body when you go car shopping.
People are going to smoke or they are not. They are going to keep a proper diet or not. Should packaging rules like this also mandate that soft drinks show you pictures of rotted teeth, gum disease, diabetes and other imagery because they cause these diseases?
This could be taking it too far.