Graphic ads aren’t helping smokers

I’m not a smoker and I fully support helping people quit the habit, but the graphic images slathered on cigarette boxes are just ridiculous.

I understand – it’s an emotional appeal urging Americans to save their lives. However, this is an irrational approach for convincing people to quit smoking. Smokers aren’t just doing it for fun. They’re addicted to it. This new marketing ploy is not saving anyone.

Most people understand the harmful health effects of smoking. Therefore, graphic images aren’t offering any new knowledge. Why do we feel the need to show smokers the harm they cause themselves and others? Why is tobacco our crusade? What about alcohol? Why don’t we put a picture of a damaged liver on each bottle? What about all the victims of drunk driving?

Everyone takes part in harmful behavior at some point. Too much sugar, red meat, fat, smoking, drinking, etc. Why is there a moral obligation to save the smokers from themselves? We live in a free country. We should be free to do what we choose with our own bodies.

I won’t allow someone to tell me not to get a tattoo or to not eat something just because they believe it is harmful. The best you can do without being intrusive is to educate and provide resources. At the end of the day, the best way to get smokers to quit smoking is by helping them, not shocking them with graphic images.

Natasha Tomchin is a sophomore majoring in history and public relations.