The UK is set to join the growing list of countries that afix manadatory graphic depictions of cancer patients and other "gross out" images on cigarette packs, with the pretext that this will lead people to quit smoking and thus save lives. In reality, of course, this is just a way to try to stigmatize the users of the product. Still, there are those who still bother to ask whether such tactics are at all effective.
The Independent newspaper recently asked the question, “Do ever more gruesome warnings really put people off smoking?”
Although a study was cited that indicates they might, the paper had to admit that there really is no way to know if these warnings are affecting smoking rates. “In general, smoking is in decline,” is the lame observation, with this additional remark that it is young people who tend to take it up, tending to quit as they get older. Well, those trends have been observed for at least 30 years. If the anti-smokers can’t find strong evidence that their harassment and hate campaigns don’t do a thing to add to anyone’s quality of life, they still show no signs of slowing down. And as they get more frustrated, watch them head for a full Drug Wars style crack-down.