Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mass. moving forward with graphic in store warnings

According to the Boston Globe, Massachusetts is considering legislation that would require retailers to post large graphic warnings at the point of sale of tobacco products. This legislation would be the first of its kind in the nation. The new law would require all retailers to post graphic signs modeled after the New York Campaign to reduce tobacco use. First this idea has to clear the Public Health Council. The membership of this council is supportive of the measure. The law has a fine structure for businesses who fail to comply. Fines range from $100-300.

The hope with these signs is that smokers who are tempted to purchase just one more pack might make a different choice. The signs rely heavily on images, rather than words. Research indicates that these types of graphic warnings are more effective than plain text warning labels.

Like most tobacco control policies, opposition has arisen. Convenience stores who are concerned about dwindling tobacco revenue in their retail outlets will likely oppose this. The writers of this new policy would likely  welcome a decrease in tobacco revenue because it means fewer packs are being sold.

This proposal is part of the "Putting Prevention to Work" part of the stimulus bill.

The types of warnings being proposed can be viewed here.

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