This past Tuesday, 4 of the largest tobacco companies filed a major suit against the federal government. Why, you ask?
Apparently the federal government has issued new labels for cigarette companies to place on cigarette packages. The companies are upset because they are REQUIRED to use the labels designated by the government. They also claim that the new labels, which now include images, not just text, will be damaging to sales.
First things first. I am not a proponent of smoking. I think it’s a terrible habit and I am in favor of laws restricting people from smoking inside businesses, as it is clearly a detriment to those around them. However, here is where I draw the line. Who is the federal government to step in and mess with a private enterprise that is trying to make a profit? (And let’s not forget the amount of taxes this profit generates for the federal government.) “Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” the companies wrote in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.. How despicable.
The images are anti-smoking advocacy graphics. I’m not quite sure how this make sense. You wouldn’t advertise Dell in a catalog of Apple Computers, just as you wouldn’t place an image of a bloody, dead person on a bike helmet. So why is this appropriate? Take a look. Some of the images are quite graphic:
There are a total of 9 images that the government wants to implement over the course of the coming years. This will be an added expense on behalf of the tobacco companies since they will have to pay to change the packaging, designs, etc. each time a new image is added. The advertising technique must total 20% of the total advertising for the tobacco companies as well as include a Stop Smoking Hotline phone number.
I understand the tobacco companies make a ridiculous amount of money, have a history of being deceitful and are selling a detrimental good to the public. But those issues are neither here nor there. This completely stems from administration regulation. The federal government is essentially damaging sales of a company as they inappropriately raise the cost of doing business for tobacco companies.
When will it stop?