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To the Editor.—
Proponents of the four tougher, rotating warning labels on cigarette advertisements and packs mandated by the Comprehensive Smoking Education Act of 1985 hoped that greater awareness of the specific adverse consequences of smoking would lead to a decline in cigarette use. They seem to have underestimated the ability of tobacco manufacturers to create strategies that negate any effectiveness the warnings might have had.For example, warning labels on bill-boards and point-of-purchase displays have become camouflaged to the point of being invisible. In addition, the warning appears on the side of the pack and not along the front, unlike in most other countries where warning labels are required. (In Iceland, where prominent warnings were ordered to appear on the front of cigarette packs in 1985, the tobacco industry responded by withdrawing popular trade names from the market and introducing new ones with attractive packaging—thus undercutting the impact of
Blum A. Warnings: Smokers Opt for the New, Prefer Carbon Monoxide Poisoning to Fetal Injury. JAMA. 1989;261(1):44–45. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420010054024
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