For years, cigarette companies have fought increasingly strict regulations on their product while anti-smoking advocates work to make cigarettes harder to purchase and smoke. Recently, anti-tobacco groups have been stepping up their efforts to turn off potential new smokers with strongly-worded warnings and advisories. When words don't seem to be cutting it, the Surgeon General's office has turned to graphic images.
But America's recent efforts with disgusting and shocking photography on cigarette cartons are nothing compared to the warnings posted on Uruguay's cigs, which are so effective the tobacco industry has spent millions fighting to have them outlawed.
If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, Uruguay's labels will stay.
"American efforts pale in comparison to the work that Uruguay has done, which has really set the gold standard for tobacco packaging," the mayor explained. "Uruguay is not alone in their fight. We stand shoulder to shoulder with them."
The South American country doesn't just have the mayor's support – it has also $500,000 of his own money.
Mayor Bloomberg made the donation to help Uruguay's anti-smoking groups fend off lawsuits brought on by the massive tobacco corporations. He said his money "will assist Uruguayan government officials by providing legal research and expertise, launching public education mass media campaigns, and galvanizing world support and public opinion."
Bloomberg, a billionaire with a strong anti-smoking record, has donated $65 million over the years to defend anti-tobacco laws.