In case you haven't gotten the message about smoking yet, images on the package will soon help you out.
Expect to see some pretty disturbing pictures that show just what happens to smokers, including images of bleeding brains and damaged lungs.
It turns out that old "Surgeon General's Warning" isn't having the same effect it once did, now that it's been on these things for some 40 years, and has been unchanged in decades. The new rules, which take effect in three years, will require these new graphic warnings across a third of the package, both front and back.
In other nations with similar rules, the images seem to have a powerful effect on some smokers: In Canada, the one-two punch of graphic packages and higher taxes has reduced the number of smokers from 18 percent to 13 percent of the population.
Here in the United States, around 20 percent of us smoke – so a drop down to Canadian levels would represent some real progress.
For where I sit, it's hard to believe people still behave like chimneys when you consider how much we know about this habit. Unlike drinking, it's not safe in moderation and it doesn't have much of an upside.
The problems with smoking are so well-documented that only a Big Tobacco executive could dispute them. Cigarettes damage the inner lining of the arteries, and the smoke itself is a powerful oxidizing agent that causes emphysema in the lungs. Smoking also leads to cancer, heart disease, blindness, birth defects and more.
Smoking also causes the extremities of the skin to contract. One of those extremities happens to be the penis – so if you want to shrink yours, keep on smoking and it's bound to happen.
So there are plenty of reasons to lay off the tobacco, but most of them won't stop a determined smoker. Few things will, other than a cancer diagnosis and I've seen a few smokers still puffing away even after that.
But for more casual smokers or someone on the fence, maybe these new warnings will be enough to make them think twice.
And that's a good step in the right direction.