I didn’t get a chance to blog about it, but a new cigarette labeling and advertising law went into effect June 22, 2010 of this year that no longer allow package labeling or advertisements to use the terms “light” or “ultra-light” among others.
The new regulations are part of the Tobacco Act passed last year.
If you were to judge the effectiveness of the new law by the picture I took September 12th 2010 however, one may be inclined to think that the new law is a failure. Is it possible this store isn’t even aware of the new laws?
The good intention of our government with this new legislation is to reduce or eliminate the perception that products previously referred to as light or ultra-light are safer than “regular.”
The response by cigarette manufacturers was to adopt the color-code for cigarette labeling such as “blue,” and “gold” just like they have done in the U.K. and Canada where similar cigarette advertising laws exist.
The U.S. FDA, which now has jurisdiction over these regulations, is very much dissatisfied with the color codes and requested that cigarette manufacturers respond in writing with reasons for the adoption of the color code system.
What did the FDA expect to happen?! Similar laws in other countries = similar results!
But, if you are a smoker I don’t have to tell you this. You already know. In fact you may even still simply still tell the store clerk that you want light or ultra-light and 99% of the time you still get what you want.
I have observed many using the old light and ultra-light terms and I haven’t seen a single store clerk question or mess up the order. Perhaps there will be a positive effect on the next generation of smokers? Not likely..
The FDA is so adamant about being the prime authority on what is safe and effective in terms of food and drugs in this country, but do they care about how effective a law is likely to be before they strip away more of our precious liberty?
Before I go into a rant, I want to do a couple things with this post today. Consider it my own very un-scientific, yet mildly interesting research.
First, I want to take a poll via comments. Please chime in and comment on the following 3 things:
- Are you aware of the new cigarette advertising and labeling law? (Yes / No)
- What terminology do you use to buy your smokes? (old terms / new color code)
- What % of the time does the clerk get your order right (%)
Feel free to also comment on anything else (eg. this post was really stupid and a waste of my time..), but would really like input from folks out there on this one.
If a lot of people participate maybe I will go to the trouble of finding a poll widget or something and plug it in here.
The second thing I would like to do with this post is to review the progress AND enforcement of the new law by watching the signage at this gas station and others (monthly perhaps?) to gauge if and how the law is actually being enforced.
Common sense tells me that the law is probably enforced more on the manufacturers in the packaging signage they produce since to police millions of stores in the U.S. would probably be impossible.
So at this time please comment and answer the 3 questions above regarding the cigarette labeling above, or any other commentary you would like to share!