The image: Earlier today, the Food and Drug Administration announced that cigarette packs will soon be required to display strategically harrowing anti-smoking imagery — the first such regulation change since 1985. Early versions of the photos, which must cover half the front and back of a standard pack, depict dead bodies, diseased lungs, and a man "smoking with a hole in his throat from a tracheotomy." Regulators will winnow down dozens of potential images to choose nine before the ruling takes effect in 2012.
The reaction: The ad campaign may be effective, but "images alone aren’t likely to change behavior," says Dr. Jonathan Whiteson as quoted in The Wall Street Journal; they may, in fact, "desensitize people over time." As a smoker, says Alex Balk at The Awl, "I have no objection to this — I know I'm going to die." If anything, "I'm happy to see a little extra graphic design on my pack of cigarettes," since "it's pretty bland right now." Take a look at some of the FDA's graphic cigarette warnings: