I’ll ask again. Wander around and ask people if they realise that smoking is bad for them. I’d wager that you won’t find a single one over the age of two who isn’t aware. Not a fucking one!
So then why, oh sweet arse, why are we subjected to endless fiddling by self righteous busy bodies who think they know best how you should live your life? We’ve had warning labels, a ban on advertising, bigger warning labels, a ban on depicting smoking, even bigger warning labels, bans on where you can smoke, gory warning pictures, and twice yearly tax increases plus the odd extra special happy tax increase. And now we’re going to paint all the packets green to remove any branding. And yet the insistent fuckers continue to smoke!
No surprises really. We’ve all seen well meaning passive aggressive relatives brainwash children into hiding Mummy or Daddy’s cigarettes because they’re dirty or bad. Then we have the whole smoking is bad industry that targets kids from school age on. So clearly, all these people who insist on smoking and tolerate the bans, price hikes and eye rolling warnings and advertisements realise that smoking is bad but don’t fucking care. They’re a slave to that foul whore nicotine. This is why I don’t understand why we’re going to the hassle of this plain packaging bullshit. I can’t see any way on earth that it will have any effect.
I have known two breeds of smokers: Those that smoke the same brand always and those that smoke whatever is cheapest per smoke. The second group doesn’t care about branding at all and I’m pretty confident the first group won’t forget that they smoke Winny Blues regardless of the colour of the box.
Aha you say. Or Bollocks. Or something unprintable. Experts have said that by removing the branding, the ‘cool brand’ factor from teenage smoking will also be removed and teenage smoking will reduce. Which is when the majority of smokers take up the habit. QED. Now hold on there a second poindexter. Let’s look at why smoking is cool. The whole world is set up around smoking is bad, don’t do it, you’ll die a gruesome death (at some point, maybe). So to smoke is to turn your back on that, and to tell society that you don’t care, that you’re your own man (or woman) and you’ll do whatever you want. Counter culture. Rebellion. Taboos. And that has always been cool.
Aha you say again (and frankly, I wish you’d quit that). The majority of teenagers are mindless sheep, not capable of that sort of reasoning and are merely hopping on the piggy tails of whatever trend is perceived cool in the hope of raising their social status. Exactly! (Wait, what?)
A brand is cool because that is what some bad, bad, Leroy Brown type character smokes. That’s it. So changing the branding will have no effect. You still have to smoke Leroy’s brand to be cool. It’s just a tiny bit harder to find out, and might take a tiny bit longer. But Leroy will help you. Trend setters need followers after all. 🙂 Back in my day, Peter Jackson light blue were the cool smokes of choice. To be seen with anything else was social suicide. I even knew guys who would steal a pack of Benson & Hedges from their parents (B&H? So uncool!) and then put the individual cigarettes into a Peter Jackson packet scavenged from the rubbish bin in order seem cool. The cool brand also varied by major social group. At the High School in the next town, Escort Red’s were cool. It also varied by age group. When I joined the military at 17, Winfield Blues were cool. All this was in the timeframe when B&H spent millions on cricket sponsorship, etc. so you’d think they would have been cool somewhere, but nada.
Of course this didn’t stop the powers of be from banning advertising though, which resulted in only benefiting the tobacco companies. Sales remained much the same, but they no longer were able to drop all those millions into advertising. Turns out, people were loyal to their brand, or just bought what was best value. Whoda thunk?
So in summary, won’t work, stop wasting your time and our money. If the government is truly that concerned they can just ban the things. (Yeah, right, and give up all those tax dollars, plus the impact of all those tobacco based jobs disappearing. And I’m sure the tobacco companies would be a little annoyed and deploy a phalanx of high priced lawyers to challenge the legislation and therefore cost the government (ie us) a fortune.) I mean, they could raise the tax on smokes and use that money to subsidise quit smoking aids, but no, they can’t even manage that.
So what’s my stake? Why am I calling bullshit? Despite what you’re probably thinking, I am a non smoker. Sure, if I’m honest I actually appreciate the banning of smoking in bars and restaurants. It’s much nicer to be able to pop out for a few beers and not come home reeking. But my issue is with the people behind it. Those insidious, meddling do gooders. If anyone thinks that once they’ve conquered smoking that they will just congratulate themselves on a job well done and disband, you’re mad. These people are committed to making you live your life like they think you should, because they know best. And once smoking is conquered, they will, energised by the victory, move on to getting the next great horror conquered. And I may actually care about one of those, like alcohol or bacon double cheeseburgers.
But they’d never put warning labels on booze or try to restrict who can buy bacon burgers, right?