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NYers not convinced that shock imagery will decrease smoking rates

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amny Photo Credit: FDA

Puffing New Yorkers aren’t convinced that the shock imagery the government will plaster on cigarette packs starting in September 2012 will help them nix their nicotine addiction.

The pictures, which were released Tuesday, show diseased lungs, rotting teeth and other grisly outcomes of smoking. The images “don’t make people quit,” said Eileen Perez, 44, of Gravesend, who’s been smoking for more than 20 years.

In seeing the picture of decaying teeth, she reasoned: “They sell dentures! Teeth are the one thing on your body you can just replace.“

Eugene Plaskett, a smoker from Jamaica, Queens, said it would take shock treatment or cardiac arrest for him to kick the habit.

“They should make the [nictone] gum more affordable and available. That would work,” he added.

The feds are trying to cut America’s smoking rate in half by 2020.

Meanwhile, city officials have been implementing ways to deter smoking, including a ban in parks and other public spaces that went into effect in May.

The city’s smoking rate dropped by 27 percent from 2002 to 2009, according to the latest health department data.

“We think these warning labels having graphic information will … decrease the attractiveness and the appeal of smoking,” said Michele Bonan, of the American Cancer Society.

Smokers’ advocacy groups, however, are fuming over the warnings, which besides packaging must also appear in cigarette ads.

Audrey Silk, founder of Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment, said her group plans to offer its own covers for cigarette packs with a pro-smoking slant.

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Other ways to deter smoking

•In 2008, the city increased its tobacco tax from $1.50 to $2.75, bringing a cigarette pack to about $8.

•The city banned smoking in all work places, restaurants and bars in 2002.

•Graphic ads showing the physical effects of smoking were displayed in city stores selling cigarettes in 2006.

•In 2010, the FDA applied advertising restrictions to tobacco companies to ban the terms “light,” “ultra light,” and “medium” from packages.

 (Christine DiStasio)

 

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