Massachusetts Proposes Use of Graphic Anti-Smoking Posters

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The anti-smoking campaigns over the past few years have resulted in an ever increasing arena of smoke free zones, increased taxes on tobacco products, and improved state and local programs to aid smokers in quitting.

Massachusetts wants to add to the anti-smoking campaign by becoming the first state in the nation to force retailers to prominently display graphic warnings about the perils of smoking. The graphic posters will not be placed “out-of-sight” but are to be placed next to the tobacco sales racks and cash registers where they can’t be missed.

The posters will contain images of ominously darkened lungs, damaged brains, and diseased teeth to show the dangers of tobacco use. Retailers who refuse to display the signs within 2 feet of tobacco displays and cash registers could face fines of $100 to $300.

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The Massachusetts State Department of Public Health has proposed the campaign which now needs approval by the Public Health Council. The Boston Globe reports that the doctors, disease trackers and consumer activists on the board have already expressed support for the measure. The Council will meet in August.

The posters are modeled on a nothing-left-to-the-imagination campaign in New York City, where signs showing the health effects of smoking began showing up in shops last December.

The campaign is being underwritten by $316,000 in federal stimulus money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will allow the state to provide the materials to retailers without charge.

Related stories
Smoking: Become a Quitter

Health Benefits of Halting the Cigarette Habit

Sources
Boston Globe
Boston Herald

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