The Star-News


Life can be dangerous, be prepared

Tue, Aug 16 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

In late June, the U.S Food and Drug Administration showcased nearly 10 new warning labels that would be required on all packs of cigarettes.

Some of the labels include images of cancerous lesions, rotted gum lines, diseased lungs and dead people.

"With these warnings, every person who picks up a pack of cigarettes is going to know exactly what risk they're taking," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was quoted as saying to CNN.

I smoke the occasional cigar. I have friends and relatives who light up either for pleasure or as a means of relieving stress. All of us know the hazards involved with using tobacco. As big boys and girls we've made a decision to go ahead anyway and do what we do.

But as long as the government, and the non-smokers who demand such measures be taken, are taking the time to show people "exactly what risk they're taking," I thought it'd be fair if perhaps warning labels were created for other risky behaviors.

Let's adhere pictures of teenage boys paralyzed from the waist down onto the sides of football helmets. While there have been instances of pro ball players losing use of their limbs, the picture of a paralyzed teen is more shocking. And that's what we're going for, right? Shock for the sake of education?

So, while we're being shocking, let's have posters of fat kids being ridiculed by their peers plastered in every window of every fast food restaurant across the country. Next to those let's see photographs of obese adults with missing limbs and other symptoms of adult-onset diabetes.

Doctors and other health experts will tell you there is a direct correlation between the quality of food we eat and our level of health. And while a cheeseburger, fries and medium soda for $2.99 might be a great filling meal deal, the toll on our waistlines and health is anything but a bargain.

So let's be fair and let's be thorough when it comes to warning each other about what's bad for our health. Everything from the air we breathe to the kind of work we do is, in one way or another, bad for our health.

It'll be interesting to see what sort of imagery we come up with to warn us about the evils of unprotected sex.


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