Graphic cigarette labels hopefully will motivate smokers to butt out before they check out

Yes, I used to smoke years ago. I was young, dumb and fearless. Now I’m old, dumb and fearful.

But smart enough to know that a huge trapdoor is waiting to open under anybody who smokes.

Why anybody smokes today astonishes me. Everybody knows that cigarettes open a huge can of hurt, slicing up like lungs like barbecue brisket. They are almost as bad for you as navy bean soup. And even riskier than having a Cobb salad with ranch dressing.

Plus, a carton of cigarettes today costs almost as much a row home in Reading.
Nevertheless, there still are morons out there who smoke.
So now the FDA is flexing its muscles.
All cigarette packs sold in the United States will be required to have one of nine horrifyingly graphic images. All packs, cartons and advertisements will be required to publish the new warnings by October 2012.
The graphic images must be accompanied by text such as “Smoking can kill you” and will be required to cover the top 50 percent of the front and back of cigarette packs and 20 percent of print ads.

That should give even a Cigar Store Indian pause before lighting up.

As you can imagine, tobacco company execs have smoke coming out of their ears over this and would love to stick a lit match to the labels.

R.J. Reynolds argues that the new requirements are unconstitutional because they violate the First and Fifth Amendments as the government is trying to “confiscate the top 50 percent of both sides of cigarette packaging.” The company says that with the images, the government is not warning consumers but rather telling them not to buy a lawful product.

Philip Morris told the FDA that “any government requirement that compels a private entity to carry a message not of its own choosing raises constitutional concerns.”

Figures they would blow smoke over legalese to cloud the issue that they are selling a killer product.

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