So smokers are about to be inundated with lovely images of people with smoke issuing from holes in their throats, emaciated bodies and babies in incubators? [Incidentally, I agree with the baby in the incubator one – no baby should smoke in an incubator – too much oxygen].
The fact that all these images are Photoshopped irrelevancies is beside the point. We all know smokers, and none of ‘em have half their face missing or bulbous growths anywhere.
There were a couple of things that interested me in the article.
The first is that the move is to counter the tobacco industry’s “marketing tactics” and that the tobacco industry was targeting young women through “innovative” packaging and “slimline” cigarettes which were used to “glamorise” smoking.
How exactly are they doing this?
Advertising has been banned for many years. The only time you will see a cigarette in print is in one of these incessant press releases. You can’t even see cigarettes in the shops as they are all hidden behind ugly great doors. The only time you will ever see a cigarette packet in this country is after it has already been purchased, so how in the name of God is the tobacco industry targeting anyone?
The point that really caught my eye though was their contention that “27 per cent of women smoke but a much higher rate is seen among women aged 18 to 29 in deprived social class groups”.
Now these women know the risks. They have been bombarded over the years with petty laws and restrictions which have obviously failed in persuading them to quit. They are not going to be dissuaded by lurid pictures of imaginary “victims”. Of course there is the point that those in “deprived social class groups” are more than likely buying their supplies from Man with a Van because of the penal prices on smoking in this country, and are therefore unlikely to see the images anyway? But the main point is that if they have not quit by now, they aren’t going to quit because of images.
But then we come to the kicker.
“[the report] recommended community-based cessation programmes to overcome the reality that smoking is a “cultural norm” in many communities, providing a sense of “solidarity and belonging”.”
So here we have something that provides a sense of solidarity and belonging?
We can’t have that now, can we?