WARNING: The truth never hurt anyone

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By Calen McKinney

The purpose is to get people to quit. Simple as that.

The Federal Drug Administration recently announced that beginning September 2012, it will require larger, more prominent health warnings on all cigarette packaging and advertisements in the United States.

The changes will be the first in more than 25 years and are "a significant advancement in communicating the dangers of smoking," according to the FDA.

I don't know about you, but I was always taught growing up that smoking is bad for you. I never saw the appeal, really, and cigarettes are expensive.

The scientific proof of the health risks is there for anyone to read.

I realize that we all have addictions (not all of which are healthy) and people have the right to smoke.

I don't smoke. I never have nor ever will. And I just don't like it when someone is smoking around me. Not everyone feels the way I do, and I can accept that.

However, when I learned what the FDA is doing, I was pleased. I hope the effort will work.

Perhaps putting the harsh but true effects of smoking right on the box - with photos included - will convince more people to quit.

The new warnings contain nine different sayings. Here they are:

  • WARNING: Cigarettes are addictive. (With a photo of a man holding a cigarette with a burning hole in his neck).
  • WARNING: Tobacco smoke can harm your children. (With a photo of someone holding an infant inhaling second hand smoke).
  • WARNING: Cigarettes cause fatal lung disease. (With a photo of healthy and diseased lungs).
  • WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer. (With a photo of a person's burned mouth and rotten teeth).
  • WARNING: Cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease. (With a photo of a man wearing an oxygen mask).
  • WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby. (With a drawing of an infant crying in a hospital).
  • WARNING: Smoking can kill you. (With a photo of a dead man stitched up after an autopsy).
  • WARNING: Tobacco smoke causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers. (With a photo of a woman crying).
  • WARNING: Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health. (With a photo of a man wearing an "I Quit" shirt with a cigarette crossed out).

For more information, and to see the new warning labels, visit www.fda.gov/tobaccoproducts/labeling/cigarettewarninglabels/default.htm.

Do the new warnings sound a bit extreme? Perhaps. Protestors certainly believe so.

But aren't the consequences of smoking extreme? Sure are.

The truth never hurt anyone.