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Doctors Hope Graphic Images on Cigarette Packs Will Decrease Smoking

By Daniel Cherry | Published 22 Jun 2011 07:02pm | comments

More than 22 percent of Mississippians smoke cigarettes. Health care providers in the state are hoping the new FDA rules on cigarette packaging can put a dent in that number. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports.


Kevin Cornell of Jackson is trying to quit smoking after 30 years. Here he's flipping through pictures of what's going to be on the new cigarette labels.

"Especially these pictures of the lungs. I don't want my lungs to look like that and they probably do. It scares you. That's a real possibility that will be me even if I do quit."

The new packaging features gruesome images of blackened lungs, diseased teeth, and a man with a tracheotomy smoking a cigarette. Dr. Mary Currier is the State Health Officer with the Mississippi Department of Health. She says it's time people get to see the harsh effects of smoking.

"This is real. A person who has a tracheotomy because they've lost their voice box to cancer. Those folks exist, and they do smoke through that place. That is exactly the truth right there. I'm hoping when people see this they think, Oh my gosh, and they put the cigarettes back down."

Some are saying the images are disturbing. Dr. Rick de Shazo is a professor of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He thinks packaging should go even further if it stops people from smoking.

"If it encourages them to think about their kids or their grand kids and how long they're going to be around to take care of them, I think the more gruesome, the more dramatic, the more awful smoking is portrayed, the better it will be."

All cigarette packs must have a quit line number for smokers to call for support and counseling. The state health department says they have received 200 more calls than usual to their quit line since the pictures were released.






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