Tag Archives: cigarettes

Big Tobacco Won Their Lawsuit Against New FDA Graphic Warning Labels

Back in June of 2011, the FDA announced new warning labels for cigarettes that were pretty gruesome on purpose, to shock people into not buying cigarettes. In August, five tobacco companies sued the government saying that the rule violated their right to free speech because it was forcing them to advertise against themselves. Yesterday, the judge in question ruled for the tobacco companies saying that the law did violate their free speech, that the graphic warnings were more shocking than text warnings, and that they weren’t based in fact:

Although an interest in informing or educating the public about the dangers of smoking might be compelling, an interest in simply advocating that the public not purchase a legal product is not.

One of the proposed new warning labels


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Big Tobacco Is Suing The FDA

After years of being sued by pretty much everyone under the sun, Big Tobacco is doing the suing now. About two months ago, the FDA announced it was upgrading its warning labels on cigarettes from the textual Surgeon General’s warning to graphical ones that show all kinds of nasty pictures designed to induce so much vomiting that people will not be able to even look at a pack of cigarettes. Surprisingly, the tobacco companies don’t like this idea. What’s more, they’re saying this is the straw that broke the camel’s back, and that they never agreed to even the Surgeon General’s warning, they just didn’t fight it when it came into being 45 years ago. The new rules, they argue, seriously cross the line because it amounts to the government forcing the makers of a legal product to advertise against itself, which should be a violation of their right to free speech because it forces them to say something they don’t want to say.

One of the new warning labels


Philip-Morris, the largest cigarette company (they make Marlboros, Parliaments, Basics, Virginia Slims and a bunch of others), is surprisingly not part of the suit. But five other companies are, including R.J. Reynolds, who is the second-largest one (they make Camels, Winstons, American Spirits, and others). Their lawyer had this to say about the law suit:

Rather than inform and educate, the graphic warnings include nonfactual cartoon images and controversial photographs that have been technologically manipulated to maximize an emotional response from viewers, essentially turning our cigarette packs into mini-billboards for the government’s anti-smoking message.

Update, 1 March 2012: Big Tobacco won their lawsuit.

Via The LA Times

Cigarettes Are Radioactive

A little known fact is that besides containing arsenic and cyanide, cigarettes also contain a radioactive element called polonium. This is the same element used to assassinate former-KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 in London. For some unknown reason, the tobacco plant seems to selectively absorb uranium by-products from the soil, which later decay into radioactive polonium.

Just how radioactive are cigarettes? According to the Army Corps of Engineers (PDF), smoking two packs a day for a year will cause a person to absorb 80 milliSieverts (mSv) of radiation, which is about 20x more than all the radiation a non-smoker gets from the usual sources (airplane flights, bananas, x-rays, watching TV, etc). The minimum radiation dose clearly linked to increased risk of cancer is 100 mSv per year, and two packs a day is not far from that at all. So if you’re a heavy-smoking pilot who breaks bones a lot, you’re kinda screwed.

Photo by RawMotion


But let’s say you’re not a heavy smoker and you want to know how much radiation is in one pack of smokes. A little math tells us that’s 110 µSv, which is a little more than five chest x-rays, and a little less than half of what a nuclear power plant is allowed to produce per year. Again, that’s in one pack. So if you smoke a pack a week, that adds about 5.7 mSv per year, which means you  absorb about 2.5x more radiation than the average non-smoker, but still only about 10% of the yearly radiation dose clearly linked to cancer.

Meanwhile, the electronic cigarette lobby implies that their products don’t contain polonium.

Sources: The New York Times, US Army Corps of Engineers, and xkcd

Ferocious, Cute Kitten Fights For Cigarette

Via Laughing Squid

New Eco-Friendly ‘Marlboro Earth’ Cigarettes

The Onion is reporting that Philip Morris USA has a new brand of cigarettes that were designed with the environment in mind:

the new environmentally friendly cigarettes work by employing powerful carcinogens that accumulate in the lungs of smokers, slowly breaking down their vital organs and eliminating the danger posed to the overpopulated planet by the human race.

They warn that in most cases the cigarettes take a very long time to work, so people should start smoking them as early as possible — most preferably during childhood. What’s more, the new brand also contains powerful chemicals that not only make saving the environment a pleasurable, stress-relieving activity, but also make the urge to help reduce urban sprawl, climate change, and toxic waste quite addictive.

Perhaps China will make an exception for Marlboro Earths from their smoking ban.

From The Onion