Smoker's warning

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In a recent Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) report, released Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control conference in Seoul, South Korea, Canada’s world ranking for cigarette package warnings rose to fourth in 2012 from 15th in 2010.
The new ranking comes in after new Canadian warnings covering 75 per cent of cigarette packages back and front, were implemented.
Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, commended Canada for their strong anti-smoking labels, but urged Canada to follow Australia — whose packages rank at number one — in implementing plain packaging.
This change would prohibit tobacco companies from using brand colours, logos and other design elements on the branded part of the packages.
While the motives for this change are both noble and clear, to deter non-smokers from picking up the habit and to encourage habit-smokers to try and quit, the effectiveness of such measures has been called in to question.
Is it realistic to think that a loyal nicotine-junkie of 20, 10, or even as little as five years for that matter, will decide to kick the highly addictive habit based solely on gruesome and terrifying in-your-face images and plain packaging alone?
Not to be a cynics, but if the simple proven knowledge that cigarettes can lead to an array of debilitating and fatal cancers, ailments and conditions, thus having the great potential to diminish overall quality of life and/or lead to an early and painful death, isn’t enough to sway the majority of all habit-smokers to quit, chances are tragic images of human suffering on their pack of cancer-sticks won’t either.
It begs the question, if the demand for such labels is so high and considered such a priority why aren’t these silent killing–sticks simply outlawed? After all, smoking cigarettes kills more people than car accidents, cocaine, heroine, AIDS, homicide and suicide combined every year.
That’s a pretty powerful force that as of yet, is still out there running amok and causing turmoil.
Let’s face it; until cigarettes are made illegal (wishful thinking), habit-smokers are going to smoke. Social-smokers are going to smoke.
Why? One part because the majority of people do what they want to do, regardless of potential consequences and one part because cigarettes are one of the most highly addictive drugs that is both readily available and legal to consume.
A horrific image on your cigarette pack might shock you initially. You might have a moment wherein you think to yourself, ‘I suppose that could happen to me.’ You might even have a fleeting moment of inspiration where perhaps you do ponder the idea of quitting, but realistically the majority of all smokers are going to look at that packaging once and likely never pay it much attention ever again — out of habit.
It seems the only logical solution is to make cigarettes illegal and since that is highly unlikely to ever happen, would it not be more effective to put the money spent on elaborate packaging toward more effective means? Such as funding programs and services aimed toward helping people kick the habit and manage the addiction?
But while we wait for that happen, its likely sound logic that the less appealing a cigarette package can look, the better. So, by all means, bring on the ugly, grotesque, terrifying and heartbreaking images. And let’s kick this thing.