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Side effects vs side effects

Updated on February 6, 2016

Warning Labels

Side effects of cigarettes vs side effects of prescription medicine

For years cigarette packages have come with a warning on its labels with the intent of inducing those who smoke to quit and to scare off non-smokers from ever starting. The warning read:

Smoking cigarettes cause lung cancer.

Governments of different countries have come to realize that this warning has not proven to be sufficient to prevent the sale of cigarettes. For this reason we see the trend in different countries where the law has been amended in such a way as to oblige the manufacturers to use more serious warnings on their labels and in some cases even graphic warnings. Some examples of these are:

Smoking kills

Smoking clogs the arteries and causes heart attacks and strokes

Smoking can cause a slow and painful death.

I must emphasize at this moment that I am a non-smoker and do not wish to give the impression that I promote smoking in any way.

But what I do not comprehend and wish to stress is the level of attention given to the side effects of smoking reason - being that it can cause serious illnesses and even in some cases death - vs the level of attention given to the side effects of some prescription medicines, that were approved by the Drug Administration and prescribed by the physician to a patient suffering from one or the other illness. These side effects can be viewed by reading the manufacturers printed information leaflet included with the medicine. Some of these are:

Birth defects

Liver damage

Suicidal behavior

Blood clots

Heart attacks

Strokes and

Heart failure

I ask myself how it is that this serious problem associated with some prescription medicines does not get the same attention as cigarettes. Why is it that the only way a patient, that has suffered serious damage to his health while seeking help for another illness, or his loved ones have to deal with this by suing the pharmaceutical company or manufacturer, this is AFTER THE FACT.

Food for thought!

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