It is difficult, if not impossible to go anywhere these days without tripping over No Smoking signs.
The damned things are everywhere – every shop, public building or mode of transport has little stickers and big stickers, not to mention signs.
I have often mused in the past as to whether these signs and stickers have an unintended consequence. Surely they are all pushing smoking to the fore of conciousness? Those who never smoke must be aware of them, and they would make those people actually think about smoking? If for example everywhere you went you saw signs demanding No Pierced Ears Allowed, it would make people more conscious about pierced ears? It might never have crossed peoples minds to get their ears pierced, but with all these signs around they would become aware of the subject and maybe even decide to give it a try?
There is an advertisement running on Irish television [or there was – it may have died the death] which told us there were “more quitters in Ireland than smokers”. It urged us all to become quitters too. So not only are they displaying a sequence of people smoking cigarettes, they urge us to become quitters. I don’t know about you but I always interpreted being called a quitter as somewhat disparaging? [If you desperately want to see the ad, search “HSE Quit I Will Survive” in YouTube – I ain’t gonna clutter this site up with their nonsense]
So what Tobacco Control is doing is effectively advertising smoking. All the signs may differ, with different messages or different images but they all have just one thing in common – Smoking. It is drilled into our eyes and minds wherever we go.
After all, there’s no such thing as bad advertising?