Warning Images on Cigarettes to Become More Intense

Warning Images on Cigarettes to Become More Intense

By Minjae Kim

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, starting in December, the warning pictures of cigarette packs will be magnified from 50% to 75%.

The government is expecting to stamp out the atmosphere of encouraging cigarettes by enforcing the National Health Promotion Act. Compared to countries such as Australia and New Zealand which already have warning pictures covering the entire cigarette packs, Korea has small warning signs ranking 28th of the 30 OECD countries. To make matters worse, a plethora of stores would cleverly display the cigarettes cases so that customers do not have to see the disgusting pictures.

European Union countries have also implemented this system in order to reduce the number of smokers. Nepal is one of the countries that adopted intense warning pictures to raise consciousness among smokers. Influenced by these countries, Korea has replaced the pictures with more threatening ones, but the intensity is still far to go.

Opposers of the warning pictures criticize its effect and consequences. Concerns of its efficiency have been posed since smokers chose alternatives in order to lessen their distaste instead of letting go of their habit. Switching to electronic cigarettes or buying attractive cigarette packs is one example. Some tend to make weird hobbies of collecting sets of cigarette packs in resistance. 

Another fear is that the pictures can be a violation of non-smokers’ right to pursue happiness. Convenient store users would complain, “I don’t know why I have to see those disgusting pictures though I am a non-smoker.” Others frown their faces whenever they go up to the counter and spot the packs sitting behind the cashier.

It is not the country’s authority to stop a smoker from smoking, but they should realize how addictive cigarettes are. Tobacco contains nicotine that will run through your whole body shortly after 10 seconds, which is short enough to get you rely on cigarettes more every time.