CON: Labels won't be effective and government is overstepping its boundaries
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PUBLIC COMMENTThe FDA is accepting comments on the proposed warning labels until Jan. 11. To see the labels, the FDA's study and for information on how to submit comments, go to www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling
Roger Theisen spends his days interacting with tobacco users of all kinds at his store, Tobacco Junction.
If he knows his customers at all, he says the new cigarette package warning labels won't hurt his business; it may, in fact, help it.
"You may get some people who will buy them because they're like that."
Theisen said he knows of customers who see European cigarette labels, for example, as something of a novel collector's item.
"Overseas they have graphic pictures and things like that, and it's actually kind of a cool thing to some people," he said. "The people who are smokers ... if they haven't seen what smoking can do, they've heard enough about it that I don't think it's going to have any affect at all."
Indeed, that is what the study, on which the new FDA regulation is based, concluded.
"The graphic cigarette warning labels did not elicit strong responses in terms of intentions related to cessation or initiation," the study found. Its authors theorized repeated exposure to the warning labels could elicit the desired response.
And while Bobby Trevino praises the FDA's efforts, he's not convinced it's enough.
"Make the cigarettes cost more," he said. "And if they would invest that money back into free programs for people who really want to quit ... that would be better than anything else."
Theisen mentioned the cost-factor of the new labels, too, and argued the government is overstepping its boundaries.
"All I see is it's going to cost tobacco companies more money, which means they're going to have to charge more money," he said. "And that's what it comes down to, is the government trying to control everything."
Trevino agreed, but said, as a smoker, he accepts the intervention.
"Unfortunately, that's the cost of doing business. The government regulates business so much that everything trickles down to consumers," he said. "Bottom line, the consumer pays for it. But since this is a bad habit, if you want to smoke, continue, but pay the price."