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State to Force Stores to Post Graphic Signs vs. Smoking

May 25, 2010

Massachusetts is poised to become the first state in the nation to force retailers to prominently display graphic warnings about the perils of smoking right where cigarettes are sold — at tobacco sales racks and next to cash registers.

Images of ominously darkened lungs, damaged brains, and diseased teeth could start appearing before the end of the year in more than 9,000 convenience stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, if a proposal by the state Department of Public Health is approved as expected. Other posters would direct smokers to where they can get help to stamp out their habit.

Retailers who refuse to display the signs within 2 feet of tobacco displays and cash registers could face fines of $100 to $300.

A retail industry group reacted yesterday with dismay, arguing that cramped corner stores are already burdened by too many regulatory dictums.

The initiative needs the approval of the state Public Health Council — an appointed panel of doctors, disease trackers, and consumer activists — but board members yesterday expressed unequivocal support. Since the 1990s, Massachusetts has been at the vanguard of US efforts to reduce tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States.

Do you think that posting these graphic signs in stores will be effective to consumers changing their mind about buying cigarettes? And if so should it be put in place for all states?

Is this a useful prevention method for smokers, non smokers, even adolescents?

To read the full article please click here

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