Would it stop you?

I know that we have at least one ex-smoker on this blog, and one person who has never, ever tried a cigarette.  And likely, everyone else falls somewhere on that scale, since statistics tell us that 1 in 5 adults and teens are smokers.  I would like to know, what is your opinion of the new packaging?  Below are 6 of the 36 proposed images on which the FDA is gathering comments and opinions.  From these 36, nine will be selected.  This process should be complete by the end of summer 2011, and after October 2012, any manufacturer who does not utilize the new packaging will not be allowed to sell cigarettes in the United States.

Graphic packaging is not a new concept.  It’s been utilized in other countries for many years.  Canada was the first, beginning in 2000, and has reported a drop in cigarette use since then.

I wonder, however, if these disgusting photos will act as a deterrent?

Being on the heavy side of the scale, I can tell you that sometimes, stuff like this backfires.  For example, I know that I should not be eating potato chips, hot dogs, and Happy Meals because I am told constantly by the government, media, and everyone around me.  It is a never-ending message that every morsel I put into my mouth that is not a vegetable is probably going to kill me in the next ten minutes.  It has been made painfully clear to me that I am not socially acceptable because I am not a size 10.  Does that stop me from eating potato chips, hot dogs, and Happy Meals?  No.  Instead, I feel defiant when I eat them.  “Hah!” I think.  “Look at me, Government! I’m eating a Happy Meal!!!” I am an intelligent woman.  But I am also a stubborn one.  Tell me that I can’t do something, and I’m going to do it, nearly every time. It’s not always the best choice, but there you go.

Why do I tell you this?  Because I can see it happening with smokers.  Continue to squeeze, and you’ll get defiance.

What do you think?  Do you think this new packaging is going to work?  Do you think it’s going to have no effect at all?  Or do you think it will have the same effect that the anti-fat stuff has on people like me, and challenge people to just keep doing what they’re doing?

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32 Responses to Would it stop you?

  1. Joy says:

    I’ll make a bigger comment tomorrow but I lived in Canada and this didn’t stop any smokers I know. They even sell decorative sleeves to replace those with. I have to be honest and say it didn’t stop me.

  2. SKL says:

    I’m not impressed with the photos. People actually pay money to buy graphic, nasty stuff to look at, in case the feds hadn’t noticed this. So given that smokers have already received more or less objective information about the risks, seeing sensationalized photos is not going to faze them, or at least not many of them.

    I also think this could have the opposite effect as follows:

    1) The examples above remind me of stuff designed to actually appeal to youngsters. Especially the comic one, but even several of the others. Kids might actually get the idea to collect them and compare and have a good laugh with their friends.

    2) Sensationalism only serves to desensitize people. Photos of the most extreme (and unusual) examples of what “can happen” are going to water down the message that smoking is bad for pretty much every person’s health. I mean, driving can lead to horrific accidents, and that’s what you hear in the sensationalist news (and drivers’ ed), but how many people decline to drive or follow all rules/recommendations to a “T”? Nobody I know. A young person who has a chance of being influenced will look around himself and say, “I know a lot of people who have smoked for decades and haven’t had this kind of thing happen. They died at an old age like everyone else.” And they are pretty much going to ignore the sensationalist warnings.

    I’ve never been a smoker, and I certainly wish we’d come up with the right message to deter young people from starting up. I just really don’t see these suggested ads having that effect. Much better to just (a) provide honest education, and (b) adopt government policies that don’t actually promote / benefit from smoking. (That would include no more subsidies to tobacco farmers; not allowing welfare checks to be spent on cigarettes; not allowing smoking in public housing; not using cigarettes as a convenient source of tax revenue; etc.) The government’s current contradictory policies make one wonder whether they really want people to smoke or not – and young people definitely pick up on this.

    • Joy says:

      I never thought about the collecting aspect of this SKL. That’s such a good point. Remember those Garbage Pail Kids collector cards?? They were hugely gross and my kids tried getting each and every one of them.

      • Joy says:

        You know, as horrible as this sounds and as sick as I am and the way I have to live really sucks, I still really miss smoking. I felt like it was just a part of who I was. In 33 years of smoking, at the end nearly 3 packs a day, I only tried quitting twice and gave up because I just didn’t want to quit. I loved smoking. Sadly, I think I’d do it again.

        It’s my hope that cigarettes just fizzle out and they outlaw them. They treat smokers like second class citizens as it is. That used to really make me mad. They let us buy them but don’t let us smoke them???? Now they’re planning on banning them OUTSIDE!!! Seriously???

        I’m glad I don’t smoke but I wish like heck I wasn’t sick but had I not gotten sick I know without even thinking about it that I’d still be smoking.

        For example, look at Tasneem’s rude and unkind remark. How do you think that feels? For someone to tell me to my face that I deserve to be sick. I agree that it’s my fault but I’d surely never tell someone sick that. He/she is blocked from this blog. I’m not sure anyone has ever been that unkind to me but there are people like that everywhere and yet they continue to sell them. I hope they stop before anymore people get sick like I am. I also suspect they put a lot more dangerous stuff in them now and I still think those “firesafe” cigarettes have something unsafe in them. That glue?? How safe is that?

    • SKL says:

      I should add that I know those photos would not influence me. I have never been one to act on whatever someone tells me without independent investigation. And I’ve always had a particular distrust of the government and advertising. Even when I was a kid. I would ignore the pics and do whatever I would have done if they didn’t exist.

      I can tell you the reasons I never started, for what it’s worth. One, it was against the rules until I was old enough to have half a brain, and I wasn’t one to go looking for trouble. Two, I tried one of my brother’s cigarettes and I could not see the attraction at all. Three, I was never willing to spend my hard-earned money on cigarettes (when there were perfectly good junk food options and Pac-Man to waste it on). As an adult, I can add that I have seen family and friends suffer and die from cigarette smoking, as well as many who find it very hard to quit. But as a kid, I didn’t really see the extent of how bad it eventually gets for many people. I was taught that smoking was a cause of cancer, but I was also taught that there is still a lot of mystery behind how cancer forms in some people and not others, etc. (The confusion might be due to having a smoker for a health teacher, I don’t know.) Adults would either say “I smoke but I shouldn’t” or “I don’t smoke, the cigarette does.” Many would say “I can stop whenever I want to.” So honestly, the physical risks of smoking were never that clear from a kid’s perspective, and the addictiveness aspect was downplayed.

      Personally, when it comes to kids who aren’t smokers yet, I think a lot more focus is needed on the addictiveness aspect – kids, you don’t want to lose the ability to make your own decisions, do you? Then don’t get yourself addicted to stuff; and when it comes to tobacco, that means don’t mess with it. If you want to prove you’re big and bad, sucking on a cigarette doesn’t cut it – especially when you later hear yourself saying “I can’t stop.”

      Anyhoo. Wish me luck when my kids get old enough for it to matter in our house. I know I’m weird and what works for me may be totally useless with my kids.

      • SKL says:

        Another thing about the addictiveness. When I was a kid, people would “stop smoking” but actually sneak and keep smoking when the kids were not looking. (I suspect a lot of people still do this.) Or, they will quit for real, but only after a major health scare.

        The problem with that is that kids got / get the idea that it’s easy to quit smoking. Would it be better for them to see the actual struggle involved between the initial decision to quit and the actual last smoke? I don’t know.

  3. Tasneem says:

    Smoking is such a bad thing . I hate smokers and the kind of health problems smokers have to go through is a very deserving thing for them to get .

    Check your smoking I.Q.

    • mssc54 says:

      Deserve? What a pompous, arrogant, holier than thou attitude.

      WWII Veterans fighting in the European Theater received FREE CARTONS OF SMOKES! Many of these Vets who were not killed on the battlefield later became hooked on the nicotine and suffered from it’s effects.

      In the years I’ve been Blogging I have never, ever resorted to name calling and I know this is not my blog so if the publishers want to delete my comment I will understand.

      But I must say Tasneem, you are one big sphincter muscle!

      • Joy says:

        No Michael, I think you said it just right. That person’s a jerk and those stupid quiz’s……..What an ass hole.

        • mssc54 says:

          However, I am a little disappointed that I let myself get flustered by such week minded individuals. I didn’t even bother going to the link posted. I figured from the comment made it would just be trash.

          EVERYONE struggles with something in their life. Who knows what each of us are truly dealing with?

    • Joy says:

      Well you can be happy to know that I deserve what I got too. I can’t walk more than a few feet without losing my breath and I need to use oxygen a lot of the time. You hate smokers?? What kind of thing is that to say? How can you as a human being say something like that? Do you have any idea how many people smoke who’s blogs you go to? How many peoples feelings you just hurt?? Do you hate fat people who have health problems too or do you just hate smokers?

      You can feel free to never come back to this blog. I think you’re a pompous ass hole and you can take all your stupid quiz’s with you.

      What an ass. Good gawd, what a thing to say. It’s one thing to think it but it’s another to say it out loud.

      • Nikki says:

        I stand behind both you and mssc…..take that BS somewhere else!

        Mssc, you said it perfect! ” What a pompous, arrogant, holier than thou attitude.”

    • Laura says:

      How dare you, Tasneem.

      We’ve let you spam our blog for a while now with your ridiculous quizzes, but if Joy has not blocked you, I certainly will.

      I’m the first person to stand up and say that smoking is bad for your health, and to encourage those who do smoke, to quit. But to say that they “deserve” the health problems they go through?

      Have you ever witnessed a person dying from emphysema? I have. Have you ever talked with someone who couldn’t string three words together because their lungs didn’t work? I have. He didn’t deserve that. He didn’t start smoking when we knew how bad it was – he started smoking back when it was not only “cool”, but it was “healthy”, and touted as the thing to do to calm down after a stressful day. He quit 30 years ago. But he still paid for it with his life.

      What a lovely thing for you to wish upon your fellow man.

  4. Laura says:

    SKL, I completely agree with you on the biggest thing, as I see it, and that is the mixed messages that are sent by the government itself. On one hand, we have them telling us that smoking is The Worst Health Risk Ever, and on the other hand, they’re adding taxes to packs to pay for education and whatever else. On one hand, they’re saying quit, quit, quit, and on the other, they’re passing money to tobacco farmers to keep them in business.

    But then, I suppose it’s too much to ask for the government to deal with honesty and honor, isn’t it?

  5. Sue says:

    SKL made some very good points. I also don’t think it will deter smoking like they hope. We are a society of graphic images anyway and the bigger/more nasty the better, so the shock value will not be there. I smoked for 30 days in college my freshman year. I didn’t go through one pack that whole month not to mention I couldn’t even smoke a whole cigarette at one time! It was ridiculous, but I don’t think those health warnings would have stopped me from buying that pack. I already knew how bad they were, but you get the ‘it can’t happen to me’ thing going and you can talk yourself into all kinds of things.

  6. Nikki says:

    I honestly don’t see how it would help but I also don’t see how it could hurt. If you’re a smoker, these images are not going to make you quit. And if you really want to start smoking, you will. It’s no secret what smoking does to you.

    On February 10th, I will be a non smoker for 6 years, and I feel great about that. But if I was still smoking, these adds wouldn’t make me quit. They won’t make my husband quit, that has to come within. Like SKL said, smokers might actually like these new packs.

  7. mssc54 says:

    But now to answer the question. Honestly, I don’t know. The two draggs of that cigarette I had with Dale Harris in our garage when I was twelve years old was enough for me.

    I think if the physical smoking aspect of the product doesn’t do it looking at a picture isn’t likely to do it.

    It would be interesting if a study was done on how these pictures affected males/females. Since men are more “visual” and women are not (just take the porn industry for instance). This could very well affect men more than women. Discriminators!

    • Joy says:

      That’s a very good thought. Men vs women. I know the women I knew in Canada just replaced those yucky ones with a pretty one. So the government stepped in and created a business for someone else. Those sleeves sold like hotcakes and the prettier and more colorful, the better. The men, they could have cared less and they still smoked. To be honest, I also know a lot of people who rolled their own and bought other cases for their smokes so they didn’t see the anyway.

  8. Karen Joy says:

    I quess those pictures weren’t put on the packs here until after I quit smoking but I am 100% positive it would not have made me stop!Joy,Ive never seen those sleeves your talking about.Everyone I know is not bothered by those pics,maybe in the beginning they were but you just get used to seeing it.Just the other day I was talking about smoking with my nephew who hadn’t had one for 3 days.I said I was a smoking and will never preach about the health effects etc but the big reason to quit here is the price.He said they are now almost $14.00 per pack!Holy!!So I believe if they quit it would be more for that reason than those pictures.

    • Karen Joy says:

      Oh I did want to say that if those pics made even one,just one person quit it’s worth having them on there.

    • SKL says:

      At $14 per pack one wonders why anyone on this earth would buy smokes. Or at least, anyone who is on a budget. Shoot, a lot of people feed families on less than $14 per day.

      I know tobacco is extremely addictive, but it has to be something more that would make people keep burning their money like that. Social pressure? Are they making a statement? No good ideas on how to replace the habit with something better? The awesome power of subliminal marketing? Or is it really so physically addictive that they can’t say no, no matter how much it hurts the wallet and the body? Scary.

      • Joy says:

        I know. How sad is that? When I lived there they were a little over $10 a pack but I’d usually get them at a reservation where there was no tax on them. Or we’d drive to Ontario where the taxes weren’t so high and buy a bunch.

        By the time I lived there I’d already smoked for more than 25 years so it didn’t even occur to me to quit.

    • Joy says:

      Those sleeve things used to be sold near the lighters and I used to get them at the reservation to the west of Dominion City. Maybe the don’t make them anymore. Are the packs still sold with those pics on them? I haven’t seen Canadian cigarettes since Audra was here 2 years ago. You may not notice them if you don’t look around or you don’t smoke.

  9. kweenmama says:

    I have never smoked, but I have siblings who do. As I try to look from their perspective, I don’t think the pictures would stop them from smoking–they are already addicted. If anything, they might make a joke of the pictures as they light up. They already know that smoking is bad for their health and some are already starting to feel the effects of years of smoking. It is going to take a lot more than pictures to get my siblings to stop. Now, would the pictures deter someone who has never smoked from giving it a try? Not sure on that–there is already a lot of educational materials out there about the dangers of smoking, has it deterred many people? I would love to know the statistics on that.

  10. Laura says:

    Wow. This is what happens when I disappear for a day!!! I need to stick closer to my computer!

  11. Just a Mom says:

    I smoked 3 packs a day for 20 years and I have been a non-smoker for 3 almost 4 years. To this day I still wake up and want a cigarette! Those pictures are not going to make anyone quit in my opinion. If the price won’t make someone quit, or the health risks these pictures won’t. But I do agree they may become a type of collector item among the younger crowd.

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