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Graphic Images of Death or Dying on Cigarette Packs: Will They Help You to Quit?

By HERWriter Guide
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Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

America has been a little behind (and some would say far too kind!) when it comes to explaining exactly what cigarettes really do to the body. While written warnings have been around for a long time (in fact, the U.S. was the first country to do so) dozens of other countries quickly took up graphic visuals on cigarette packs. The U.S. is now taking up this option – and then some.

This week, nine pictures of the damage that smoking does were showcased by the government - most are quite graphic and others show the dangers of passive smoking to children (a child watching a large puff of smoke headed toward him, another shows a newborn in the ICU because his mother smoked). They also include a man with a tracheotomy still smoking, seen by the smoke pouring from the hole in his throat. The message: smoking is so addictive that people will smoke even though their bodies have been wracked by the damage it has caused. A message like this wants people to stop before they even start. Others don’t hold back on the physical damage – lungs clogged and black and a cancer ridden mouth, complete with rotted out teeth. The images certainly pack a punch.

But how big will that punch be? The government wants it to be a big one, so nearly half the pack will be filled with both visual and written warnings, with the rest of the pack for the manufacturer’s name and content. The tobacco companies objected to this vehemently, stating it was wrong for the government to overtake the cigarette packages like this and that it was unfair to customers who make a conscious choice to purchase a legal product. But the government won out, due to new regulations to regulate tobacco. Tobacco products still remain legal.

If you’d like to quit smoking, join EmpowHER’s smoking cessation support group here: http://www.empowher.com/groups/Journey-Cessation-Quitting-Smoking

Tell Us
Have you seen these graphic pictures? Would graphic depictions of cancer and disease on your cigarette pack make you rethink your smoking?

Edited by Alison Stanton

Add a Comment6 Comments

Considering every single living person on the planet IS going to die at some point from something......death IS unavoidable and cannot be stopped. How a person dies, or from what, is also not in our control, nor up to any one of us to decide for another. In essence, there is no "saving lives". You can delay (maybe), change the cause (maybe), but you cannot prevent death, because as long as there are babies being born, there will be death.

Encourage people to develop healthier safer habits, yes, starting when they are children; but using force to try to get others to only have habits their neighbor approves of is just wrong.

There is no guarantee that the same causes of death attributed to smoking wouldn't still exist if smoking never did. I'm not trying to be argumentative here, just stating a fact that cannot be denied.

October 14, 2011 - 2:32pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Lynda F)

Hi Lynda

Of course everyone will die but to say how are person dies is not in our control makes no sense, considering that over 300,000 people die every year from smoking related diseases.

Everyone has a story of someone they know who smoked 3 packs a day that lived to be 90. The fact is that that's very unusual.
And a long time smoker doesn't suddenly get sick from it at an old age and then die.

Long term smokers live a life that is of far less quality that non smokers and this starts in their 30s. They don't breath as well, they don't sleep as well and they don't exercise as much. They simply don't live as well as a non-smoker, these are facts.

You can rationalize smoking as much as you want - even throw in the "I could be run over by a bus tomorrow" line but smokers live unhealthy lives. Once I quit my 1-2 pack a day, twenty year habit, my chest pain that was was due to smoking eased. That chest pain was gone within 3 months of quitting and never came back.

No-one is saying anything about preventing death, I think you're arguing that to defect from the known fact that smoking often prevents a healthy life. We all know we'll all die some day! Let's focus less on death and more on the quality of life we have while we're alive.

While I do know some smokers who lived to be 80+, they nearly all had a bad quality of life for their last decade - due to smoking. And I know FAR more people who died of smoking related causes, and well before their time.

Smoking is legal and anyone can smoke if they want to, no argument there. But it will ultimately kill at least 50% of people who smoke and and contribute to the majority of deaths of the others. So to say we have no control over our deaths is like saying we have no control over our lives. We do have lots of control over our lives and to our deaths, to a certain extent and we need to take responsibility for that.

While many of us will die in accidents or diseases we cannot control, 300,000 smoking deaths every year seems like a self-imposed waste of life.


October 17, 2011 - 10:00am
EmpowHER Guest

Smokers understand graphic mages than words. Bolder graphic images on cigarette packs will save thousands of lives.
Nalliah Thayabharan

September 29, 2011 - 6:07am

Sorry about your husband. And I truly do understand your point. I am assuming here that your husband is, or was, a smoker? Not to make light of what is obviously a serious condition, but I don't think it could be guaranteed that he wouldn't have the same condition, or another just as bad, even if he never smoked. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in this life.....not even that someone who passes young would have lived longer "if only". I wish only the best for you and your husband, and I mean no offense by this comment either. I have suffered loss in my life, so I am not inexperienced to the pain of such things. I will keep you both in my prayers.

September 22, 2011 - 8:23pm
EmpowHER Guest

I have two pictures of my husband. One is at Thanksgiving The other one is him in December. He was a normal looking man in November weighing 149 LBS & his weight was 85 LBS in January. Sheilai

September 19, 2011 - 12:19pm

I do believe the UK and Canada have done this already (a few years ago), and it started a craze with the kids collecting the pictures and trading them like baseball cards. The people buying the packs simply remove the cigartettes and put them into another carrier OR they cover the pack in brown paper. In other words............it does NOT do what they want it to.

In all honesty.........I have never, in my 58 years, seen a smoker who even slightly resembles the pictures they claim are of smokers. And that includes one aunt of mine who did have emphysema. Seriously, if they really want to make an impact, the best thing is to stop trying to force everyone to live by someone elses idea of "good". The more you make something undesirable, less available, more unacceptable, the more people want it (every parent knows that). It's reverse psychology 101. Give people honest information and real facts, and they will make their own choices. I personally dislike everyone trying to force me to live a life they want me to live (by using grotesque graphics, emotional blackmail, excessive taxes), rather than allowing me to live my life my way. For the record I myself have been smoking for 45 years; and I don't have half the health problems all my "good, healthy non-smoking" friends do.

June 24, 2011 - 3:21pm
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