There Are Better Ways to Label Cigarette Packs

If you are a pack a day smoker the truth of the matter is that you are more than likely hooked. This comes with the territory when dealing nicotine, one of the most addictive drugs known to man. In 2009 The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was passed. This was a law that gave the government the right to regulate tobacco package advertising. Several (9) written warnings talking about the dangers of smoking were to be placed all over the pack. Also rotating graphic images such as a diseased lung or a dead body were to be placed on individual packs as well. This law is currently being challenged and therefor has yet to take effect.

Marlboro was one of the first cigarettes (almost 50 years ago) to use ammonia. By doing this, the company was able to beef up the nicotine hit that its consumers received. As a result of this, they were almost able to put other cigarette companies out of business before they were able to catch on. Then in 1998, the health insurance company BlueCross/BlueShield sued Big Tobacco and won a $6.5 million settlement by proving that companies like Marlboro were using ammonia to basically help the smoker to “free base” nicotine. While ordered to not use ammonia, many believe big Tobacco still employs this tactic. If they had to list their product ingredients like many other consumer products do, then maybe they would not be able to get away with it. Today’s premium cigarettes are rumored to have 100mg of potency in them. If this is true, it would help explain why so many nicotine based quit smoking products until the electronic cigarette have had so much trouble over the years actually getting people to quit. Even with nicotine as a tool, these products could not come close to matching the nicotine potency of cigarettes.

While this is a giant step toward potentially getting people to wake up with regards to smoking, I also think it is a bit over the top, it did however get me thinking; Why don’t tobacco companies have to list their potency on a pack of cigarettes?. We all are aware that alcohol can be a dangerous product that causes long term health concerns and can also be addictive. That is why printed on each and every bottle of liquor that can be purchased in a store in the “alcohol by volume”. This is the percentage of alcohol that is in that certain liquor. This is also known as a “proof”. This tells the general consumer the level of potency in the liquor that they are buying. There are not pictures of diseased livers or smashed cars and dead bodies on alcohol bottles after all. It would also make it harder for cigarette companies to hide the true nicotine content of their product, which again many suspect they have been doing for years.

It is good enough for alcohol; it should be good enough for tobacco. I am willing to bet that people would be shocked if they got to see the nicotine potency of many brands posted on the front of the pack. That plus a simple list of some of the chemicals might just do more than a graphic image ever could.


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