On June 11th (yesterday), the U.S. Senate approved a measure that would allow federal officials to regulate tobacco products. It's now been four decades since the Surgeon General declared cigarettes a health hazard, and we'll finally have oversight into the product. The legislation will allow the FDA to regulate both the content of tobacco products as well as the marketing side of the house.
In order to gear the tobacco companies away from marketing their products to the youth segment, outlawing ads within 1,000 feet of schools and/or playgrounds. Also, the terms "light" and "low tar" will be removed from packaging by 2011, and by 2012 there will be large health warnings on cigarette packs, similar to Canada and Europe.
It's crazy to think that in 40 years we've gone from ads like the one pictured here:
to warnings like this saying things like "Smoking will kill you."
We'll see what happens in the future. I'm surprised we haven't heard more of an uproar from the tobacco companies, although Phillip Morris has been going along with the legislation. No other tobacco companies have made any effort to support this measure, and the Democratic senator from North Carolina, Kay Hagan, was the only Democrat not to support the bill. Coincidentally, North Carolina is the nation's leading producer of tobacco.
Will we see a revolution that involved less people smoking? It remains to be seen. For now, we can only hope for a more healthful country that is conscious of the decisions they make.
Here's a Camel ad from 1949:
And here's an ad from 2008 from TheTruth.com:
Amazing how things change, huh?
Here's something funny.
As always, follow me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. Become a fan of the blog on Facebook. And have a great weekend.