Graphic pictures of diseased lungs, rotting teeth and throat cancer will be placed on cigarette packets from next week to show the health dangers of smoking.
As of next week cigarette packets will no longer have the ‘Smoking Kills’ or ‘Smoking harms you and those around you’ messages on their side but a much stronger image: diseased lungs, rotting teeth and throat cancer. These are just some of the images that will soon appear on your favouriate brand to get the message of the dangers of smoking across to all.
The messages are obviously there to get the health message across to smokers and there’s a lot of psychology behind them. But, have the cigarette manufacturers and government gone too far this time?
Yerks-Dodson would have us believe that there’s an optimum level of arousal that will ensure the best effect or best performance on a task. The messages that currently adorn our cigerette packets have been around since 2003 and almost wash over smokers now, they have habituated to the messages they provide.
The have even become the but of jokes (man: “I just make sure that I get the ’causes low birth weight'”) or even a whole new set of ‘cover-’em-up’ stickers. Maybe it is time that we have some more shocking messages to inform the smoker of the potential (actual?) dangers of smoking.
Even with the amount of money being spent by the NHS on it’s quit smoking campaigns, not being able to smoke in pubs and bars and many companies not allowing smoking on site over 10 million people still smoke in the UK and it’s estimated that over half of them will die early as a result. The lesser effects of smoking, such as shortness of breath and brown, stained teeth that require bleaching are well known and generally considered by smokers as acceptable risks.
Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said: “I welcome the introduction of picture warnings on tobacco product packaging, which show smokers the grim reality of the effects smoking can have on their health. This will help to maintain the momentum of the increasing number of people who have given up smoking following England going smoke free in 2007.
“Written health warnings have encouraged many smokers to stop smoking. These new stark picture warnings emphasise the harsh health realities of continuing to smoke. I hope they will make many more think hard about giving up, and get the help they need to stop smoking for good.”
Have we gone too far? How do you explain to your child what those pictures are on the side of your fag packet… and it’s always going to be fun going to the news agents now to be faced with a wall of death, cancer and suffering as you pay for your morning paper.
And for those readers who do smoke, a little light-hearted relief from the legend that was Bill Hicks…