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The labels should shock people and be effective in deterring smokers, but how much is the question, said Marvin Goldberg, the Bard professor of marketing at Pennsylvania State University.
"There's no silver bullet. Will this wipe out smoking? No, but it will put a dent in it," Goldberg said.
Graphic labels "are tremendously effective," said Stanton Glantz, a tobacco researcher at the University of California at San Francisco. He said the argument that the warning labels are offensive, so people ignore them, has been cooked up by cigarette companies.
If that were true, the tobacco industry wouldn't be fighting them so hard, Glantz said.
Reynolds American Inc., parent company of the nation's second-largest cigarette maker, R.J. Reynolds, is reviewing the labeling plan. But spokesman David Howard said the legality of the new labels is part of a pending federal lawsuit filed by the company, No. 3 cigarette maker Lorillard Inc. and others.
The tobacco makers in the suit had argued the warnings would relegate the companies' brands to the bottom half of the cigarette packaging, making them "difficult, if not impossible, to see."
Anti-tobacco advocates are applauding the federal campaign and the new warning labels.
"This is going to stop kids from starting to smoke ... and it's going to give smokers a strong incentive to quit smoking," said Patrick Reynolds, grandson of R.J. Reynolds and executive director of the Foundation for a Smokefree America. Reynolds' father, brother and other relatives died from smoking-related illnesses.
Smokers themselves were skeptical that the labels would have much effect.
"I don't think they're going to be a deterrent at all for people who already smoke. Most people start smoking when they're young, and I don't think they're going to think about the effects," said 27-year-old Zak Hoffman of Cincinnati, who has been smoking since he was 14.
"I think more tax increases would have more of an effect than scare tactics," said 20-year-old Gina Gatano, a student who works at a downtown Cincinnati coffee shop.
Proposed Warning Labels: http://bit.ly/cQwvVc
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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