Leave it to the federal government to come up with a way to liven up cigarette sales in America. Beginning in September 2011, the Food and Drug Administration will require cigarette manufacturers to put graphic warning labels that depict the horrors of smoking. The pictures will have to cover half a package’s front and back and will feature diseased lungs, corpses, and a man smoking a cigarette through a tracheotomy tube.
Let’s face it, cigarette packaging has become a tad too stodgy what with basic lettering, models holding cigarettes, camels, and smiling people. These new visually-stunning graphics should help spark sales and, finally, we’ll have packaging worthy for other uses other than being tossed into the recycling bin.
And while the FDA’s at it, why not do something about those dreadfully dull names cigarette companies slap on their products, names like Kool, Winston, Camel, Marlboro. What’s that about? If you want to get sales a-popping throw in a little danger. Fill those store shelves with brands like Death Stick, Lung Destroyer, Widow Maker, Cancer Maggot, and so on. Now that’s something worth asking for at your local grocery store, a whole lot more exciting than asking meekly for a pack of Benson & Hedges.
But why should the FDA stop there. Hell, if you’re going to run the entire retail system in this country, make McDonald’s put an x-ray of clogged arteries on the side of their Big Mac box; stick a coffin photo next to the mileage tag of every Smart Car waiting to be sold; affix a drawing of a retching man on Budweiser bottles; etch a broken toe graphic onto bowling balls; put baby pictures on condom packs; and, finally, place a picture of a dewy-eyed horse on every hot dog package sitting in grocery store coolers in this country.
Will sales go through the roof or what?
While many may think of this activity as nagging adults, in reality this is nothing more than plain, old-fashioned concern, the kind of concern you would have heard in your mother’s voice as she would shout out at you in your youth: “Get off that fence, you’re going to fall off!”, “Let that dog go, he may have rabies!”, “Stop playing with those matches!”, and the one that always got my attention as a boy, “Quit playing with your father’s loaded gun!” Our government is really an anxious mother looking out for its head-strong kids.
If this isn’t a brilliant stroke of genius coming out of the Obama Administration to get the economy going, to put Americans to work, to create an unending stream of new jobs, well I don’t know what else it could be.