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article imageOp-Ed: CDC to launch graphic anti-smoking campaign

By Abigail Prendergast     Mar 15, 2012 in Health
The CDC is set to launch a $54 million ad campaign that will try to get smokers - in particular, teenage smokers - to kick the habit. Unfortunately, this seems to be yet another government control-lust wolf in sheep's clothing.
The trend of smoking cigarettes, in particular the "pediatric epidemic" of teenagers lighting up, is set to be taken on by a new government tactic which will utilize graphic depictions of the trauma endured by former smokers.
According to USA Today, the visual advertisements will be featured on all sorts of media formats such as newspapers, television, billboards and even social networking sites spanning a 12-week period.
Attempting to deter anybody from the habit of smoking cigarettes, especially teenagers, and especially in such an extreme manner is, quite frankly, a joke. It is just another attempt by the United States government to look down upon its people like they are incapable of living life for themselves. In other words, another vehicle in hopes of controlling the general populous in the guise of saving lives.
Oddly enough, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is launching this atrocity of a campaign merely weeks after a Washington judge declared the Food and Drug Administration's call for mandatory graphic labels on cigarette packs unconstitutional.
In the ruling, United States District Judge Richard Leon said that the unsightly images of rotten teeth and diseased lungs indeed violated the First Amendment right of cigarette manufacturers. So with this in mind doesn't it seem, if anything, desperate on the part of our friends in high places?
As far as I'm concerned, it is their way of saying the people are not allowed to dictate what they do to their own bodies.
Perhaps Terrie, a 51-year-old North Carolina resident who lost her teeth and hair to head and neck cancer will provoke thought in some. Maybe the fact that she must don a wig to hide her baldness, and wear scarf to disguise the voice box she requires to speak in order to get ready for the day will make some think twice before lighting up their next cigarette.
Terrie's story is surely tragic, in fact it can even be considered heartbreaking; but in all honestly it is highly doubtful a good chunk of smokers will quit after seeing this 30-second public service announcement.
Surely this can be somewhat compared to the War on Drugs; a battle futilely fought in an effort to stop drug trafficking. It doesn't matter whether you support legalization of marijuana, or any other substance; at the end of the day, if someone wants it bad enough, they are bound to obtain it.
While tobacco cigarettes are not illegal - at least not yet - they have been under terrible scrutiny for quite some time now. Yes, they are by no means good for you, and of course the potential for lung, and in Terrie's case, head a neck cancer are there. But is it really worth the $54 million in campaigning to try and accomplish something that could have a good chance of getting a handful of smokers to quit at best?
Please bear in mind that nobody should be forced to smoke, yet by the same token, nobody should be forced not to smoke. In the end, it is a choice of the individual, not one of the government; the only entity who should be in charge of your body is, well you. And if that means you are taking a gamble and can run the risk of ending up like Terrie or other victims of tobacco-related misfortune, that is your call.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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