Picture the scene:
A bare room with an oval table in the middle. The only decoration is a sign on the wall indicating that this is Action on Smoking and Health, Meeting room 1. Underneath, someone had scrawled [very badly] “Death to all smokers”. The seven chairs around the table are all occupied by a rather depressed looking group.
“We have to come up with something new,” said one of them. “We have to justify our government funded salaries somehow.”
Heads nodded gloomily. There was a long silence.
“We have tried banning advertising and even the display of cigarettes but that didn’t work” said another.
“We thought the plain packs was a winner but that was an abysmal failure.”
“We could try banning smoking anywhere?”
“We already banned smoking in all enclosed spaces and buildings. All that did was force many pubs to shut.”
“How about making the pictures on the packs more lurid?”
“I dunno. A picture of someone on fire? A picture of a body that has just been hit by a train or of someone who has just jumped off a ten floor building?”
“It wouldn’t work. They just ignore all the pictures. We suspect they all know they are photoshopped.”
“I have it!!” cried the newest member. “How about lurid pictures on the cigarettes themselves?”
“An interesting idea but they would only see a bit of the picture unless they rolled the cigarette. We could use just words though? It’s about the only thing left that we can do.”
Heads nodded enthusiastically around the table.
“How about Smoking causes lung cancer Smoking causes heart disease Smoking causes emphysema?”
“Smoking kills half of users 7 million people a year and reduces quality of life?”
“That doesn’t make any sense but I like it!”
“This is brilliant stuff lads. It’s a winner. It will stop smokers in their tracks. It will definitely work.”
“All we have to do is think up some more messages and then make them pass a law, forcing Big Tobacco to print them on every cigarette.”