In an effort to crack down on smoking in Russia, their health ministry is forcing cigarette manufacturers to include a new set of graphic–and shocking–photos on cigarette packs. And with such a high percentage of Russians who smoke, it may seem like a good idea to use shock-value to get attention, but some of these images go too far.
The ministry explained their motive:
Global experience shows that shocking pictures on cigarette packs significantly influenced changes in perception of smoking by smokers themselves.
True, and with more than 39% of Russians who smoke and the average smoker consuming 17 cigarettes per day, the country’s health ministry is right to want to reduce those figures. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, Russia has one of the world’s highest rates of tobacco use.
So they are fighting back and hoping to shock people into putting down their cigarettes by reminding them of the impacts of smoking. It’s a good idea, in theory, but some of these images cross the line. Take a look:
The cigarette labels, (clockwise from the top left) say: “emphysema,” ”addiction,” ”impotence,” ”danger,” ”premature aging,” and “prematurity.”
The photo of a dead baby is particularly disturbing. True, smoking kills and graphic depictions of the effects can be startling. In fact, the World Health Organization has research results that prove graphic labels get more attention and even led 25% of smokers to consider quitting (even though the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected the requirement of such labels in our country). But where do we draw the line? What’s shocking enough to get attention and what goes too far?
Tell us what you think.