Author: MICHAEL FRAZIER
The New York Health Department is proposing city tobacco retailers post signs with graphic images such as cancer-ravaged throats and black lungs in an effort to discourage smoking, health officials said Wednesday.
The signs – the first of their kind in the country – would include health risk warnings and information on how to quit, said Sarah Perl, assistant commissioner of the city’s Bureau of Tobacco Control.
“You’re going to see what a blackened lung looks like; you’re going to see what mouth cancer looks like; you’re going to see what it looks like when you have throat cancer,” Perl said. “They’re going to have to think, ‘Do I really want to pay 10 bucks for mouth cancer?’ “
The city Board of Health will hold hearings and vote in September on the proposal. Officials expect opposition from many of the city’s 12,000 tobacco retailers and the cigarette industry.
Jim Calvin, president of the state Association of Convenience Stores, said a new law giving the Food and Drug Administration more tobacco control is sufficient. “I’m not sure we would be eager to give up additional wall space and advertising space for posters and signs and images,” said Calvin, whose group represents 7,700 stores statewide.
President Barack Obama signed a law Monday allowing the FDA to lower the amount of nicotine in tobacco products; forbid ads geared toward children; ban sweetened cigarettes that appeal to youngsters; and prohibit “light” and “low tar” labeling.
The Health Department said its proposal is aimed mainly at adult smokers and would complement the new federal law.
“Tobacco is an addictive drug,” health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.With John Valenti