Will graphic images on cigarette packs get you to quit?

By: Allison Kropff Email
By: Allison Kropff Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - They are graphic, designed to get you to quit. We're talking about new warnings on cigarette packages.

These pictures show how smoking destroys lives. Will they work? We hit the streets to find out.

A man smoking through a tracheotomy hole. A stroke victim. A mouth with rotting teeth.

These are just a few of the nine graphic images you will soon see on cigarette packs.

"That's gross. That's nasty," says Ranee Mills and Kris Breeden.

But will they really make a difference?

"To be honest, I'll probably still smoke. I probably will too. It's hard to quit," says Mills.

"This is really aimed at making sure kids don't start in the first place. But also, for adults that want to stop, we give them some help," says Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary.

Marqueze Graham says the FDA is going overboard.

"I think they make everything worse than what it really is. I guess that will deter people from smoking."

But will they deter him from smoking?

"If you would have showed me this about 5 years ago, probably."

For 30 years, Kaye Wistson has been a smoker. She's tried to quit before.

When we showed her the pictures, she was silent.

"It makes me think, what's going to happen to me if I keep on smoking? And that's sad. And it makes me feel sad for myself that I can't stop smoking."

But she says it's going to take more than some pictures.

"After I get through talking to you, and run out of cigarettes, I guess I'll buy another pack of cigarettes. It's easier said than done."

This poll isn't scientific, but no one we talked to was willing to butt out now to try and prevent this, later.

The labels will take up the top half of cigarette packs and will have to make up 20% of an ad.

Cigarette makers have 14 months to make the changes.

Labels will also include the national hotline number, "1-800-QUIT-NOW."

The FDA estimates the new labels will help 213,000 smokers to quit in the first year.

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