A new proposal in the United Kingdom is touted as an iron-clad method to deter smokers from lighting up.
Over the decades as anti-tobacco grew from a small group of crack-pot fanatics, who perhaps genuinely believed that smoking was a health hazard that should be curtailed and eliminated, to the multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that routinely buys legislators throughout the world, it has promised that smokers would voluntarily quit smoking if only simple tasks were performed. Early on anti-tobacco assured the U.S. Congress that affixing a health warning label on cigarette packs would end smoking. The Congress complied and smoking did not end.
In the 1970’s anti-tobacco convinced the U.S. Congress that smoking rates would drop if cigarette advertisements were eliminated from television and radio. After the typical, ineffective protest by "Big Tobacco" failed, Congress indeed banned cigarette advertisements from the so-called public airways. Smoking rates did not decline.
In the 1980’s anti-tobacco lobbied the federal government and many state governments to take tax dollars and spend them on anti-smoking education. The result, so promised the grifters, would be declining smoking rates and an end to young adults taking up smoking. Money was duly distributed to the anti-tobacco goon squad and smoking rates remained the same. That decade also saw a crack down on print advertising, including billboards. The goal, as always, was ending smoking. As always smoking continued.
The 1990’s was the decade in which governments forbade smoking in places of business, government buildings, restaurants and bars. The blatant property rights grab was advertised as an effective tool to end smoking and prevent new smokers from lighting up. Ten years later smoking rates remain the same and a generation of young people have taken up smoking. Also during that decade "progressive" governments were sold the notion that ending smoking depended on covering cigarette packs with huge black and white warnings, the more hysterical the better. Smoking rates were not affected even in unhinged countries like Canada, which mandated that cigarette packs be covered with hideous pictures of diseased lungs and gums and worn out hearts, all supposedly damaged by smoking.
Now, in a new century, the con job continues even though anti-tobacco has been flat out wrong each time it promotes a new method to end smoking. From the United Kingdom, a country whose inhabitants are among the most dissatisfied, disgusted and cynical over their government’s poor performance, comes yet another scheme to end smoking. As in the past, it is the cigarette packs that will usher in an era of smoke-free, healthy living. Again the promise is to "to protect children from smoking by taking away the temptation."
Temptation will be eliminated by removing the cigarette’s logo form the pack and carton. The only images on the pack will be big black and white warning messages. Presumably even the brand name will be missing, except in small type. The cigarettes will remain the same and it doesn’t take a prophet to predict that smoking rates, as always, will be unaffected. Is there method to this madness? There is. At the point where smoking is banned everywhere and cigarettes are available only from government outlets and packs are covered with only the international poison symbol, cigarettes will be declared illegal. Smoking, however, will not decline even then.