Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Imagine what would happen if all companies sold products like tobacco

In a  recent post, on the Legacy website, President and CEO of the Legacy Dr. Healton laments that there are no graphic label warnings in sight for tobacco products and writes, "One of my favorite truth® spots asks the American public to imagine what would happen if all companies sold products like tobacco. In such a world, the consumer protections we expect on items from lead paint in children’s toys to toxic ingredients would disappear. Yet, just when it seems like policy makers are making bold, historic moves to change the way our nation addresses our No. 1 preventable and needless cause of death, tobacco products continue to be treated as the exception to the basic principles of consumer protection."

Here's the thing - I honestly cannot think of any other product that has more warnings associated with it than tobacco. Not only is the public deluged daily with anti-tobacco ads featuring grim warnings in every type of media - television and radio (where the tobacco companies are prohibited from advertising), print media and they are even limited on the internet -  the product ads and labels already carry warnings similar to those on other risky products and are quite graphic even without images. Who could possibly still claim ignorance of the well-publicized health risks? Many of the warnings, such as those shown on the snus packages pictured on the right, aren't even scientifically proven to be true. In some cases, the warning is an outright lie! There is no scientific evidence proving or even strongly linking snus to oral cancer; it is not shown to cause significant gum or tooth loss; it is not harmful simply because it is addicting nor has it been shown not to be a safe alternative to smoking (and it's obvious - to just about everyone without a financial interest in keeping people smoking - that smoke-free tobacco products like snus are a "safe-R" alternative.)

So let's consider her argument from another perspective. What would happen if all companies were forced to sell their products like groups such as Legacy want tobacco to be sold? Imagine, all companies would have to have graphic images of the worst-case health scenario covering 1/2 or more of the label - Legacy's idea of "basic principles of consumer protection."

Imagine a world with public warnings like this:

Maybe this:

Or this...

Get the picture yet?

What fantasy world to ANTZ live in??

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