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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:59 am 
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I feel like I also need to clarify something else: I am not necessarily in favor of laws like Australia's. From a policy standpoint, I haven't done enough research to draw a conclusion on their necessity, efficacy, or desirability. I am just responding to assertions that forcing tobacco companies to tell the truth is some unconscionable violation of freedom.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:18 am 
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@Evan: I don't think that it is quite so much a black and white issue so just be careful that you aren't unjustly condemning people for holding a different viewpoint. ;)

I'm not really taking a side yet, but take a look at this.

Image

How does a picture of these results differ from them being described in words?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:48 am 
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MSD wrote:
I think it's a perfectly coherent view to say "decisions about which things to implicitly discourage should be made democratically by the people." You speak as if opening the door to "punitive packaging" logically requires (or will inevitably lead to) an overbearing nanny state, but democracy doesn't work like that. We have plenty of laws like this already, and they're pretty inconsistent. People want cigarette taxes and abortion-facility restrictions. They don't want obese people on their burger wrappers.

Democracy tends to get left out of these discussions, for some reason. This is sort of the kind of question that democracy exists to solve.


MSD, I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. Are you saying we need to be analyzing these cigarette laws in a broader context and not look at in in a vacuum? If so, I don't get why that somehow invalidates my points. Of course people don't want obese people on their burgers. And I'm saying people don't, and should not want, disturbing images on cigarette boxes. It's simply bad policy.

Db8r_from_Dixie wrote:
're: slippery slope arguments and fast food warnings.
1) a brightline can easily be drawn between cigarettes and other products if you wish to do so. You can exercise, eat fast food, and still be healthy. obesity is a combination of many factors with processed foods being just one. Same thing with guns. Buying a gun does not mean that someone's risk of getting shot automatically goes up. The link between cigarettes and public health is much more direct than either of those and there is no possible use of cigarettes that does not have drastic health consequences.
2) I am fine with graphic labeling of both guns and fast food (provided it is backed by scientific research). Don't think voters would go for it, but I don't think that violates anyone's liberties either.
3) it's interesting that you mention video games which already carry warnings. And the Wii actually interrupts game play to suggest taking a break periodically (not sure about other consoles). Are those regulations also violations of liberty? If not, what Is your brightline?


(1) Granted, there's differences, like I already stated previously. But still, why not label ALL dangerous products if we're seeking to achieve maximum public benefit and utility, under both your and Caleb's paradigm?
(2) That's a different debate for a different thread, but I'm glad to know what you stand for.
(3) See what I stated under my responses to Caleb, where I gave my brightline and responses to video games. The Wii's interruption is not a government thing but a voluntary action by Nintendo, last time I checked.

CalebAshley wrote:
Well who decides what tangibly violates mean? And who decides when that is appropriate? Do all taxes tangibly violate property rights and freedom, I don't think so but you could argue that logically and convincingly that they do. That is where the courts come in they get to weigh the balance between public good and freedom. I think saying as long as it abides with zoning laws is also a clever dodge. Since zoning laws are just another form of the government telling you what to do just a more subtle one.


My brightline is that the government should not be forcing individuals or companies to portray their own products they're trying to market positively in a negative light. Australia's regulation is akin to forcing McDonald's to say "look, according to recent polling, our burgers are considered the worst!" (Continuing with the fast food analogies ;P) Taxes are irrelevant to this discussion, and the zoning laws response of mine is not a dodge, as that's what we have on the books now for different reasons other than the ones we're discussing.

CalebAshley wrote:
Fast food is not addictive. Video games are restricted and do have warning labels(I think, though they may not be prominent) and age guidelines. Also a direct link between video games and violence is tougher to establish than one between tobacco and cancer. Water can kill people if you drink too much, yet nobody advocates for warning labels on water. At the same time, no one compares cigarettes to water so clearly there is a difference in scope between cigarettes and other products.


Your first statement is subjective. :P Video games, if I remember correctly, have voluntary labeling and age GUIDELINES. Not mandatory images that make the game look very unappealing. But even if it's government, the ratings and labels are not intrusive and forcing the producers to say "LOOK AT HOW BAD OUR GAME IS FOR YOUR KIDS!" And that's exactly my point. There is still no unique reason why your support for cigarette companies being forced to put shocking images on their packaging should not be transferred to other potentially harmful products.

CalebAshley wrote:
Big picture wise I have a few thoughts as well. The labels do decrease sells, but that's not the point, if cigarettes were harmless sells wouldn't decrease. The reason why the labels decrease sells is because of the danger of cigarettes. Most other products aren't nearly as dangerous or as addicting. And even if labels were placed on them sells wouldn't decrease near as much. I promise people would still buy big macs even if the wrappers had obese people on them. The reason why cigarette sells decrease are not the labels but the truth about cigarettes and the fact that that truth is being held out in the light for all to see. And yes most probably know about the danger of cigarettes, but there is a difference between knowing in the back of your head and knowing when you make a purchase. If you left this up to the cigarette companies you'd have no labels, you'd have ads on TV that talked about 4 out of 5 doctors approving smoking and ads that run during Spongebob, and ultimately you'd have an increase in smoking and in child smoking. Now, I'm not advocating for a nanny state or massive government. I'm arguing for fairness, I'm arguing that people should know or at least have a clear chance to know what they're putting in their bodies before they consume it. It's the same reason the FDA has to approve drugs before they can be sold it is to protect us. On most issues this means the government stays out of the way, because most things aren't harmful if they aren't taken to excess(then again anything taken to excess is harmful) but cigarettes even if smoked at a reasonable amount are harmful. So what I'm asking is what world do you want to live in. One where cigarette companies have freedom to do what they want and pursue their profit without restraint. Or do you want to live in a world where there are restrictions on things laws that let the truth shine laws that don't ban smoking, but laws that make sure you have full freedom of knowledge on cigarettes before you buy a pack.


I want to live in a world where we don't have an overbearing government, and where consumers are given the information they need to make proper, informed decisions. The best way to balance those two priorities IMO is the Status Quo, where we have warning labeling on cigarettes. That does not constitute a violation of liberty. Your two worlds scenario is quite simplistic and reduces my view to anarchy. This happens all to often when people misunderstand libertarian political philosophy ;) I'm not for total anarchy, but I'm all for minimal government and maximum freedom.

CalebAshley wrote:
I do understand your position, I just don't agree. And I think that may be a little bit of an Argumentum ad populum just because everyone else believes it doesn't mean it is true. I do really appreciate the chance to have this discussion it helps me shape my beliefs and defend them! :)


Likewise, I appreciate this discussion very much. :D I'm not saying "look at all these people who agree with me, so AGREE WITH ME!!!!1!!11!!1!" I'm simply pointing you back to what they said for rhetorical effect.

Db8r_from_Dixie wrote:
I feel like I also need to clarify something else: I am not necessarily in favor of laws like Australia's. From a policy standpoint, I haven't done enough research to draw a conclusion on their necessity, efficacy, or desirability. I am just responding to assertions that forcing tobacco companies to tell the truth is some unconscionable violation of freedom.


Refer to what I said earlier responding to Caleb. I, for one, have no problem with the warning labels we already have that Hammy brings up.

Hammy wrote:
@Evan: I don't think that it is quite so much a black and white issue so just be careful that you aren't unjustly condemning people for holding a different viewpoint. ;)


This is where "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" comes in. ;) I get pretty zealous in defending my views sometimes, but I hope I didn't give you or anyone else the impression that I'm "condemning" others for their views. I'm open minded and willing to hear out and ponder other positions. After all, that's why we're here discussing this in the first place.

Hammy wrote:
I'm not really taking a side yet, but take a look at this.

Image

How does a picture of these results differ from them being described in words?


"A picture is worth a thousand words." Forcing companies to comply with a government edict that makes them post unappealing images on their products is bad government policy in my view.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:38 pm 
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Evan wrote:
MSD wrote:
I think it's a perfectly coherent view to say "decisions about which things to implicitly discourage should be made democratically by the people." You speak as if opening the door to "punitive packaging" logically requires (or will inevitably lead to) an overbearing nanny state, but democracy doesn't work like that. We have plenty of laws like this already, and they're pretty inconsistent. People want cigarette taxes and abortion-facility restrictions. They don't want obese people on their burger wrappers.

Democracy tends to get left out of these discussions, for some reason. This is sort of the kind of question that democracy exists to solve.
MSD, I'm not quite sure what you're saying here. Are you saying we need to be analyzing these cigarette laws in a broader context and not look at in in a vacuum?
No? Maybe? I'm not quite sure what you mean by that, either.

The first sentence is the main one. I'm not arguing that your points are invalid per se; I'm suggesting an entirely different framework for considering the law's legitimacy. Rather than arguing back and forth about "but doing X logically requires us to also do Y, to be philosophically consistent!", why can't we just say "This is the kind of thing voters should decide democratically?" Democracies work fine without creating 100% philosophically-consistent laws.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:14 pm 
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Evan wrote:
"A picture is worth a thousand words." Forcing companies to comply with a government edict that makes them post unappealing images on their products is bad government policy in my view.

I understand that the human mind responds a bit differently to a picture that appeals to their mind, but that's really just a surface issue. The words are really far worse than the relatively speculative images. While the images are true in the effects portrayed, they would appear unsure to the buyer whereas a word from the Surgeon General is hard fact. Where is the inherent difference between a picture and words?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:17 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
The words are really far worse than the relatively speculative images. While the images are true in the effects portrayed, they would appear unsure to the buyer whereas a word from the Surgeon General is hard fact. Where is the inherent difference between a picture and words?

I think you'd be in the minority of Americans who would think this way. Most people are going to react far more viscerally to an image - even if it is just an insinuation.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:33 pm 
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I have no problem with overly emotional pictures of people with lung cancer and etc... in order to diminish smoking (though I question how much this works; the subset of the population who smokes is unlikely to be swayed), I just don't understand why it has to be mandated upon the company to provide that on their product. Run ads on TV.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:45 pm 
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Sharkfin wrote:
Hammy wrote:
The words are really far worse than the relatively speculative images. While the images are true in the effects portrayed, they would appear unsure to the buyer whereas a word from the Surgeon General is hard fact. Where is the inherent difference between a picture and words?

I think you'd be in the minority of Americans who would think this way. Most people are going to react far more viscerally to an image - even if it is just an insinuation.

But why is there a difference outside of the emotional appeal that would change the situation of government placing a warning label on privately distributed product?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:24 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
But why is there a difference outside of the emotional appeal that would change the situation of government placing a warning label on privately distributed product?


Because this:

IrishMex Rebel wrote:
I have no problem with overly emotional pictures of people with lung cancer and etc... in order to diminish smoking (though I question how much this works; the subset of the population who smokes is unlikely to be swayed), I just don't understand why it has to be mandated upon the company to provide that on their product. Run ads on TV.


Joe took the words right out of my mouth. I feel like I'm doing this at this point:

Image

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 8:01 pm 
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A couple notes:
1) The government does run PSA's like that. The commercials with people using the artificial voice boxes make me change the channel every time :P . The idea of putting them on packaging as well is two fold I think:
a) more directly targeted at cigarette users. It solves the issue of reaching smokers who don't watch tv much and avoids making non-smokers like me squirm when we're watching TBS reruns ;).
b) the social health cost is being created by companies profiting off of cigarettes so it makes sense that they should contribute to the cost of health education, doesn't it?

2) There are two separate questions which have been conflated a bit in the discussion:
a) Is it a violation of liberty to require packaging to have images of diseased lungs etc.
b) Is it a good policy decision to require packaging to have images of diseased lungs etc.

It is entirely possible to answer yes to the first and no to the second. I am still waiting on a solid warrant that requiring companies to tell the truth violates liberty. It is not forcing them to engage in negative advertising against themselves. The fast food analogy does not fit because deciding which burgers are the worst is totally subjective unless you are talking about a burger that poses health risks above and beyond other burgers in which case I already said I could support such labeling. The health consequences of smoking are objective. Yes, some video game labeling is voluntary but some is mandated. And many of the warnings may have been voluntarily implemented to stave off government action.

If all those warning labels would maximize public utility, then I would be in favor of them. I have not seen conclusive evidence supporting that though, so my position is simply that the labels are not immoral violations of liberty and are an issue best left to democracy as MSD said. Additionaly, an absence of maximum utility due to inconsistent policy would be a weak argument against improving utility through a policy change. Applied to the discussion, how is an absence of labeling in some industries (absence of maximum utility) a compelling argument against labeling requirements in a specific industry (improving utility)?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 9:11 pm 
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Evan wrote:
My brightline is that the government should not be forcing individuals or companies to portray their own products they're trying to market positively in a negative light. Australia's regulation is akin to forcing McDonald's to say "look, according to recent polling, our burgers are considered the worst!" (Continuing with the fast food analogies ;P) Taxes are irrelevant to this discussion, and the zoning laws response of mine is not a dodge, as that's what we have on the books now for different reasons other than the ones we're discussing.


Okay if that is your brightline then don't you have to be against any warning labels? After all any warning label negatively portray cigarettes. Pictures may have more emotional appeal than words, but they both portray the same message. McDonald's does have to reveal nutritional information and like somebody said earlier there is not the same direct link between a Big Mac and obesity than there is between cigarettes and cancer. I'm little bit surprised your in favor of zoning laws would you mind explaining a bit?(I'm not trying to hijack the discussion I'm just curious on this point)

Evan wrote:
Your first statement is subjective. :P Video games, if I remember correctly, have voluntary labeling and age GUIDELINES. Not mandatory images that make the game look very unappealing. But even if it's government, the ratings and labels are not intrusive and forcing the producers to say "LOOK AT HOW BAD OUR GAME IS FOR YOUR KIDS!" And that's exactly my point. There is still no unique reason why your support for cigarette companies being forced to put shocking images on their packaging should not be transferred to other potentially harmful products.


Yeah, but comparing fast food and nicotine doesn't work. Nicotine is an especially strong addictive a Big Mac isn't. You're right about video games and I understand your argument there. My unique reason is the direct link between cigarettes and cancer. If you give me an example of another product that has that kind of direct link between it and something harmful I'd probably be okay with restrictions.

Evan wrote:
I want to live in a world where we don't have an overbearing government, and where consumers are given the information they need to make proper, informed decisions. The best way to balance those two priorities IMO is the Status Quo, where we have warning labeling on cigarettes. That does not constitute a violation of liberty. Your two worlds scenario is quite simplistic and reduces my view to anarchy. This happens all to often when people misunderstand libertarian political philosophy ;) I'm not for total anarchy, but I'm all for minimal government and maximum freedom.


How doesn't the status-quo violate liberty? Eh I don't think it reduces it to anarchy. I think under any conservative/libertarian philosophy companies and people have to have some freedom to take bad actions. Because if we try to limit bad actions it comes down to the government deciding what is bad. And that doesn't match up with your beliefs. I think the standard in most libertarian/conservative philosophies is whether other's freedoms are being violated. In this case, the answer is no because no one is being made to buy cigarettes it is their choice.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:16 am 
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Quote:
I am still waiting on a solid warrant that requiring companies to tell the truth violates liberty. It is not forcing them to engage in negative advertising against themselves.


That's not what legislation regarding images does though.

The box is already required to tell the truth. It outright says it will give you cancer. This is already something virtually everyone knows which is why not only has the population of people smoking dropped immensely since the high of 1955, but the amount smokers smoke per day has also dropped. Considering that smoking is already in decline, there is no lack of knowledge in the tobacco market and cigarette sellers already are forced to tell the truth, emotional imagery is in fact not "telling the truth" but really just a puritanical campaign because we dislike tobacco.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 12:46 pm 
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IrishMex Rebel wrote:
there is no lack of knowledge in the tobacco market and cigarette sellers already are forced to tell the truth, emotional imagery is in fact not "telling the truth" but really just a puritanical campaign because we dislike tobacco.

If you wouldn't mind explaining, when it comes to regulation, why is the picture of the truth so much worse than the wording of the truth? No one has given me a clear answer yet.

Evan quoted wrote:
I have no problem with overly emotional pictures of people with lung cancer and etc... in order to diminish smoking (though I question how much this works; the subset of the population who smokes is unlikely to be swayed), I just don't understand why it has to be mandated upon the company to provide that on their product. Run ads on TV.

@Evan: That's not an answer. :P Why are pictures so much more emotional than words that they require separate government regulations?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 2:46 pm 
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Hammy wrote:
IrishMex Rebel wrote:
there is no lack of knowledge in the tobacco market and cigarette sellers already are forced to tell the truth, emotional imagery is in fact not "telling the truth" but really just a puritanical campaign because we dislike tobacco.

If you wouldn't mind explaining, when it comes to regulation, why is the picture of the truth so much worse than the wording of the truth? No one has given me a clear answer yet.


Just to be clear, Hammy, you're asking why a picture has more of an impact on people than words? If that's what you're asking, I'll try and answer. =)


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Yes, there is a difference between pictures and images. The question is why written warnings are ok from a liberty perspective but pictures (based on scientific evidence) are not.

Re:why you might use pictures instead of words; because pictures can help people process concepts
For example, if I tell you that a plate is hot and could burn you, you are technically educated about the dangers of touching the plate. But if I show you a picture of someone's hand that got 3rd degree burns from touching the plate, that may be more effective in communicating the danger of touching the plate. As long as the picture is actually an accurate depiction of the results of smoking, it falls under education not oppression.

Yes, most everyone knows that smoking causes cancer. But that does not mean they fully understand what cancer entails. You can absolutely argue that measures like Australia's are unnecessary from a policy perspective, but that is not the concern I am trying to address.

Re:puritanical campaigns. As I said before, I drink, but I would not consider it a violation of liberty if beer cans were required to show pictures of livers damaged by drinking.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:37 pm 
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Quote:
If you wouldn't mind explaining, when it comes to regulation, why is the picture of the truth so much worse than the wording of the truth? No one has given me a clear answer yet.


I don't have a huge problem with some violation of people or groups' autonomy but I do have a problem with overstepping the necessary bounds. Here's why images are worse.

-Words work. This is just undeniably true. We are in the middle of a historic decline in tobacco use and, far more important, the massive decline of daily usage per smoker. In addition, virtually everyone knows smoking increases your chance of cancer and decreases your overall health. The use of emotive images are wholly unnecessary.
-Images are not scientific "truth." The statement attached to cigarette boxes or that are in cigarette ads are scientifically tested statements. Cigarettes do increase your chance of lung cancer and increase the chance of poor health. This is how scientific truth statements work. They work in probabilities. Emotional images of diseased lungs, dying people and etc.... are not scientific truths but rather a form of visual propaganda. There is a distinct difference.
-Liberty solves. Want more emotional images beamed to people? Volunteer to any number of organizations that run highly visible ads.

The nefarious thing here is not "making tobacco companies tell the truth." They do that already and the statements on there are scientifically measured truth. The nefarious thing here is making tobacco companies pay for and supply emotional ad campaigns against themselves because we dislike their product.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:28 am 
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1) Words work.
Sure, I agree. That in no way precludes the possibility of images working even better. I haven't researched whether that is in fact the case, but it is a reasonable possibility. Like my hypothetical with the hot plate. A verbal or written warning will likely deter people from touching the plate, but accompanying the warning with the picture of the burned hand might deter even more. That is a question of policy, and if voters want to give this extra method a try, that is their prerogative.
2) Images as truth
Images without context are propaganda. Images of smoker's lung along with written warnings are not. Scientific papers often include pictures and figures to illustrate their points. That doesn't make them any less scientific. The evidence shows that smoking makes people's lungs/eyes/gums look like the pictures on the cartons. The cartons do not exaggerate and say that every smoker will get cancer, but they show the tangible results of an increased cancer risk.
3) Liberty solves.
Why should I have to pay to solve a problem that tobacco companies are creating? I already expanded on this above, but if an actor is creating a social cost it seems reasonable that they should help pay for that social cost. In 1998, the U.S. legal system agreed, which is why many anti-smoking ads are paid for by tobacco companies. Also, warnings on cartons are about as inescapable as you can get which makes their coverage preferable to tv/radio/print ads.

Quote:
The nefarious thing here is not "making tobacco companies tell the truth." They do that already and the statements on there are scientifically measured truth. The nefarious thing here is making tobacco companies pay for and supply emotional ad campaigns against themselves because we dislike their product.


1) They already pay for emotional ad campaigns.
2) Disliking the product is irrelevant. Being able to prove serious health risks is what is relevant. I like beer, but I'm not going to argue that a similar campaign against alcohol is the end of personal liberty and responsibility as we know it :P

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:29 am 
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Would you like it better if every carton was covered with excerpts from scientific studies about the health risks of smoking? ;)

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Home Schooled: Yes
Location: Under my own vine and fig tree
Quote:
That in no way precludes the possibility of images working even better.


I guess I don't see the social value in overstepping the bounds of governance in order to achieve possibly marginal decreases in smoking. And marginal they would. The population who smokes are overwhelmingly poor and young.

Quote:
Images without context are propaganda. Images of smoker's lung along with written warnings are not.


That is exactly what they are. The science on tobacco does not say, "Smoke and this guaranteed will happen to you!" with a Lord Kitchener pointing at you in a white scientists smock. The science concludes there is a linear relationship between the possibility of developing certain cancers (or other maladies) and regular tobacco use.

Quote:
Why should I have to pay to solve a problem that tobacco companies are creating?


Because you care? Furthermore you care far more than those who actually smoke regularly. Using state power to force some industries to demonize themselves for us because we care more than the actual people who actually consume the product provided just seems bizarre. Furthermore it seems like intense buck passing.

Quote:
Would you like it better if every carton was covered with excerpts from scientific studies about the health risks of smoking? ;)


That is functionally what is on the box as is.

_________________
"It is not possible to choose between injustice and disorder. They are synonyms." -- Nicolás Gómez Dávila

~IM_R


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