Massachusetts thinks it has found a way to prevent its residents from smoking: scare them to health.
Following in the vein of such notable trailblazers as Australia and Europe, the commonwealth will soon force cigarette companies to display graphic images around all outlets where tobacco products are sold.
Some of the classic iconography on display will include rotting teeth, scarred and blackened lungs and the occasional gangrene leg.
The initiative is awaiting approval from the Department of Public Health, but if and when it passes, Massachusetts will be the first state in the country to force such an action on retailers. Punishment for not displaying the signs within two or three feet of cash registers will result in $100 to $300 dollar fines for retailers.
According to The Boston Globe:
The campaign is being underwritten by $316,000 in federal stimulus money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will allow the state to provide the materials to retailers without charge. Because the posters will be produced by outside vendors, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health said, it conforms to the intent of the stimulus law, providing jobs in a sour economy.