One in five Americans smokes cigarettes. If any one of them doesn’t know he is taking years off his life by doing so, he…:
a) …is in denial, or…
b) …has an IQ of “retard”
That’s because various government agencies have worked hard over the past twenty-plus years to publicly bully the tobacco industry into near submission. On top of hundreds of billions of dollars in fines and “sin” taxes that have pushed the price of a pack past minimum wage, cigarette marketing has effectively been neutered.
But the FDA can’t get enough of cigarettes. It is addicted, if you will, to cigarette-pack labels. The agency even convinced Congress in 2009 to go so far as to grant it half the pack to show grisly pictures like bleeding lips and gums, trache holes, lung X-rays, toe tags and tombstones.
The U.S. justice system finally said, “Enough.”
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the “graphic label” law. Wrote one judge:
"[H]ow much leeway should this Court grant the government when it seeks to compel a product’s manufacturer to convey the state’s subjective – and perhaps ideological – view that consumers should reject this otherwise legal, but disfavored, product?”
“FDA has not provided a shred of evidence…showing that the graphic warnings will ‘directly advance’ its interest in reducing the number of Americans who smoke.”
And that pretty much sums up the “packaging/labeling” aspect of marketing – subjective ideology based on no evidence.
Consumers have learned to tune out things like a 6-ounce bag of potato chips that claims its Recommended Daily Allowance of fat is based on THREE servings. Consumers tune out the white noise of labels that claim products are (seemingly perpetually) “new and improved.”
Hell, a recent study by Kansas State University showed that half of consumers over the age of 50 ignore the warning labels on prescription medications.
The FDA should withdraw from cigarette marketing. That one-in-five statistic we referenced in the first line above? It hasn’t budged in NINE years.
Instead, the FDA could keep busy investigating the beverage industry. According to a report by Innova Market Insights, two of every three soft drinks launched in 2011 used some type of “health” positioning.