Designed to Annoy
August 5, 2010 8:34 AM   Subscribe

How to design cigarette cartons to be less convenient in order to discourage smoking? Designed to Annoy: a theoretical look at designing inefficient packaging.
posted by AceRock (138 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't $7-$10 a pack discouragement enough?
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:35 AM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Interesting idea. I like the individual blister packs concept, watching fiendish nicotine addicts struggle with them with shaking hands would be awesome amusement.

The individual packaging sure helps make nicotine gum damn near useless.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:39 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's cute, but all it would do is create a market for cigarette cases again. You'd buy the annoying package, remove the cigs, and put them into the package of your choice. (I know people who already do this, buying in soft packs and putting them in hard packs; I've never been clear on why, though, since there doesn't seem to be a price difference.)

If you put them in blister packs you'd drive sales of tools like this or this.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:41 AM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lovely project. Of course, these would be sold at the Inconvenience Store.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:41 AM on August 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


This guy has a future in advertising!
posted by kuatto at 8:41 AM on August 5, 2010


Yeah, I dig the designs but I'm not feeling it. I get the motivation to make packages less convenient for the consumer, but disagree that they should be made so for the producer. I agree with Mr. crash. Cost and education are the best methods of discouragement, at least to prevent pepople from starting to smoke. Addicts will buy them if they come one smoke inside an inflated beachball covered in used chewing gum.
posted by monkeymadness at 8:41 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like how the went all meta and designed their site to be just as annoying to use as their ridiculous cigarette pack idea. Is the next step to design an inefficient burrito wrapping system that keeps me from getting fat at taco trucks?
posted by mikoroshi at 8:42 AM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


What a lovely presentation.
posted by cavalier at 8:43 AM on August 5, 2010


Beautiful drawings, but the lacking element is cooperation by the tobacco industry. Otherwise, we could just mandate that all packs be rolled through poison ivy patches first. Combine that with a blister pack and I have images of smokers with tongs and tin snips, trying to get to their smokes.
posted by adipocere at 8:43 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hilarious. The packaging for OpenX is a ... blister pack. You need an OpenX to get your new OpenX. (explodes in a puff of recursion)
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:43 AM on August 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


Isn't $7-$10 a pack discouragement enough?

It's $12 here and I'm still smoking. Out of spite alone, it seems.

Also, Death Cigarettes exist already. You're talking about a group of people who willingly inhale noxious fumes and well enjoy them; we'll one-up you do-gooders on the memento mori shit every time.

The best discouragement I've ever seen was on Canadian packs. Instead of having the big YOU WILL FUCKING DIE YOU SHIT warnings you see on the European ones, they have pictures. Some have a diseased lung, sure why not. The really effective ones have a cigarette that's 90% ash in a little curve. Right under it: "Cigarettes cause impotence." Effective.
posted by griphus at 8:44 AM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


You could go as far as making cigarettes incredibly toxic and smokers would still smoke.

Quit cold last October. Never going back please god.
posted by Babblesort at 8:46 AM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm on the same brain wave as adipocere. "Note how the smoker dons the thick rubber gloves, protecting the smoker's hands, but making the package nearly impossible to open. Ah -- he has it! Soon he will enjoy the clean, cool taste of Lucky Strike, once he stamps out the remaining fire ants emerging from the packet."
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:46 AM on August 5, 2010 [20 favorites]


Smoker here, and I thought some of these were really funny.

That being said: the box with the single, cigarette-diameter-sized hole in the top? The product of a truly deranged, evil mind.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:46 AM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Canada's cigarette packaging as mentioned by griphus.
posted by phunniemee at 8:46 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


New Idea: make the actual cigarette like this
posted by BurN_ at 8:48 AM on August 5, 2010


An interesting idea well executed. But spoiled, somewhat, in my mind, by using the term 'carton'. In cigarette parlance, a 'carton' is a container of ten packets of 20 cigarettes, not a single pack. I think they would have been better off using 'pack' or 'box'.

Maybe carton is the design/packaging lingo for any pasteboard packaging, and the person is using it in that sense, but still.

I'm serious. That's a fundamental bit of cigarette terminology, and not addressing it means you don't know much about this product or its users, and if you are talking about something you haven't bothered to look in to, why am I listening to you, again?
posted by dirtdirt at 8:51 AM on August 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


You could mandate that they be sold similar to how Pennsylvania regulates beer sales. Only bars can sell individual packs (but you can't smoke them indoors!) and you can only buy two packs at a time. Or, you can go to a distributor and only buy large cases that cost upwards of a hundred bucks.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:51 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Kiwi Packaging on the same page is also kind of interesting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:51 AM on August 5, 2010


This is a really fun and well-done exercise. dirtdirt, I had the same reaction to the use of "carton" - it's not British is it? I thought it was "packet" over there.
posted by Mister_A at 8:52 AM on August 5, 2010


So they are going to package them the same way everything else is already packaged? (I'm particularly looking at you, electronics and toy manufacturers.)
posted by DU at 8:52 AM on August 5, 2010


He seems to place a lot of emphasis on obscuring the brand identity, and thinks this diamond packaging is great because it's really hard to display in such a way that the brand identity can be seen. But...In the unlikely event that this packaging were to become common, or even used at all, wouldn't they simply alter their logo/design in such a way that the logo would be visible? It's almost like he thinks there wouldn't be any way around it. More likely, he just didn't think it through that far.
posted by Gator at 8:52 AM on August 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


But spoiled, somewhat, in my mind, by using the term 'carton'. In cigarette parlance, a 'carton' is a container of ten packets of 20 cigarettes, not a single pack. I think they would have been better off using 'pack' or 'box'.

Maybe carton is the design/packaging lingo for any pasteboard packaging, and the person is using it in that sense, but still.


You're right about the lingo: in design and printing (in my experience; I work at an ad agency and there for a major paperboard manufacturer), "box", "carton" and "pack" are very different things; boxes refer more to brown corrugate -- fridges and TVs come in "boxes"; "carton" is for any consumer-facing printed paperboard packaging (detergent, toothpaste, tissues, cigarettes, etc.), and "pack" is pretty much used as a verb alone for how you put stuff inside boxes and cartons.

So she's being sector-accurate, even if it's terminology that jars smokers a bit.
posted by Shepherd at 8:55 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


...if you are talking about something you haven't bothered to look in to, why am I listening to you, again?

More likely, he just didn't think it through that far.

I think you guys are missing the point. This is a completely tongue-in-cheek exercise.
posted by griphus at 8:56 AM on August 5, 2010


...wouldn't they simply alter their logo/design in such a way that the logo would be visible?

Yeah, that seemed really naive. Although if we are going to force them to adopt a package can't we also force them to adopt a labeling style? Also, the branding surface area is smaller on the diamond one.

(Also also, I'd like to know more about how he prototyped those packages. Like, where did he get the Marlboro cardstock or whatever that is? Printed it himself?

Also also also, looking around the site I love his drawings but his designs kind of suck.)
posted by DU at 8:58 AM on August 5, 2010


Nice thought experiment.

You could go as far as making cigarettes incredibly toxic and smokers would still smoke.

I say we go the other way and make them as non toxic as possible.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:58 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Instead of having the big YOU WILL FUCKING DIE YOU SHIT warnings you see on the European ones, they have pictures.

People hate jazz, right? They should just put this picture on cigarette packs; surely that would discourage most people from taking up this filthy habit!
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:58 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love mental exercises like this. Thanks for posting it!
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on August 5, 2010


I think this guy must work for one of the major media companies in their internet division. If not, he should apply, he'd fit right in.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:59 AM on August 5, 2010


It's an idea many smokers try though - back when I smoked (all of a few months ago) I'd put my tobacco an papers in different parts of the house, in inconvenient places.

It'd take me all of 60 seconds once I decided I wanted one, but at least I'd have had a nice walk upstairs and back. Stuff like this just doesn't work for people who want to smoke. A hailstone once cut my face because standing in a hailstorm was pretty much irrelevant compared to the need for a cigarette. I often walked the three and a half miles to a petrol station for papers because I was down to my last two, that'd last me the walk.

Inconvenience just really isn't. You can never not be arsed to smoke.

The package designs are beautiful though. I'd have collected them. Then taken all the fags out and kept them somewhere more convenient.
posted by shinybaum at 9:00 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Packaging should be light-blue on pink. The largest item on the front is a photo of a diseased tracheotomy, with a lime-green frame. Slightly smaller than that are the words "OOH CANCER". The brand name of the cigarettes should be 10-pt. The only font permitted is Comic Sans.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:01 AM on August 5, 2010 [20 favorites]


You could go as far as making cigarettes incredibly toxic and smokers would still smoke.

Yeah, neat as the efforts were, packaging frustrations won't do anything to curtail smokers. I have coworkers who pay $6 plus dollars a pack to stand outside in -30° F Wisconsin winters. A bit of difficult cardboard wouldn't slow them down at all.

Still, I appreciate anyone who is trying to get people to stop. I'm dead tired of the smell, and I feel for my friends who are agonized over their inability to quit.
posted by quin at 9:03 AM on August 5, 2010


I'd like to see a cigarette that incorporates a double-reed into the design. A Marlboroboe that makes a heinous shriek every time you inhale.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:06 AM on August 5, 2010 [37 favorites]


I quit smoking over six years ago and when I saw this I thought "Hmmm... I'd kinda like a Marlboro red." I have the same feeling whenever I see a new cigarette product range behind a counter ("I wonder what that new type is like...") A consequence of starting smoking as a teenager and thus fetishising the packaging, no doubt.
posted by ob at 9:07 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


"People hate jazz, right?"

No, just Johnny.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:08 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


A Marlboroboe that makes a heinous shriek every time you inhale.

Or maybe a Vuvuzarlboro?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:09 AM on August 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


One of the big hospitals near where I work has banned all smoking on campus, and there are a couple of places where the smokers congregate; they're not any place with any sort of seating (well, one of them is a parking lot, so they have those little concrete bumpers to squat on, and the other has a low retaining wall), there's no shade or real shelter from the elements, and they're near high-traffic areas so there's a Walk of Shame aspect to them. The reason that those two spots attract the smokers are that they're the nearest convenient places to go to near the campus that aren't technically part of it. They're out there, rain, snow, or sun, including patients hanging on their IV drips. I believe that the hospital staff has access to subsidies for the patches and gum, but these die-hards aren't interested.

So, hell yeah, what Kadin2048 said above. You'll be able to get cases at any convenience store that sells cigarettes, with designs that match the lighters, skulls and flames and hearts and shit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:09 AM on August 5, 2010


So do memory cards cause cancer too?
posted by codacorolla at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you really want to make cigarettes anathema to consumers, just mandate the use of Comic Sans typeface on all packaging and logos. People will avoid them like poison.

(OK, font nerds will avoid them like poison, but hey—it's a start!)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vuvuzarlboro

Don't say it aloud!
posted by griphus at 9:10 AM on August 5, 2010


I always thought this ad was pretty effective*; teenagers are always going to think they're immortal, so go after their fear of being ugly instead.

* disclaimer: non-smoker, not a teenage girl
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:13 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Packaging should be light-blue on pink. The largest item on the front is a photo of a diseased tracheotomy, with a lime-green frame. Slightly smaller than that are the words "OOH CANCER". The brand name of the cigarettes should be 10-pt. The only font permitted is Comic Sans.

In developed countries, studies have shown that smokers are overwhelmingly aware of the physical risks of smoking and yet still actively smoke, and even participate in various marketing and advertising outreach campaigns but forth by manufacturers. This is an addiction / psychological issue that only really seems to be inhibited by making it more difficult for them to smoke. Laws restricting smoking. Taxes on cigarettes. These are steps that are effective in curtailing cigarette use. Shock advertising has been shown to have a very limited effect.

Although I like the light blue on pink idea. At least one reason teens start smoking is the "coolness" or "machismo" factor.

I always thought banning pre-formed cigarettes was an interesting idea. Just make loose tobacco and papers available at a very high price, but no packs of cigarettes. Make smokers roll their own and see who has the patience to keep up with it. :)
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


On preview: I see East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 has beaten me to the Comic Sans punch. Fine: change mine to Papyrus, then.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:13 AM on August 5, 2010


I always thought this ad was pretty effective

Not as good as this one.
posted by theodolite at 9:14 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you really want to make cigarettes anathema to consumers, just mandate the use of Comic Sans typeface on all packaging and logos.

AND A CLOWN
posted by Gator at 9:18 AM on August 5, 2010


Nitpick: the name of the site is actually Designed To Annoy. However, I was inspired to google the phrase "Designed To Annoy" and will note without further comment that most of the top hits concerned Microsoft Vista and Weezer.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:18 AM on August 5, 2010


FWIW back when I used to smole I did my own version of this inconvenience idea — I decided to roll my own, exclusively. The thought was that I'd smoke a lot less because I had to do more work to light up.

It got to the point where I could roll a cigarette with one hand while riding a bike in traffic. Love always finds a way :)
posted by Mister_A at 9:19 AM on August 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


Semi-jinx, zarq.
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on August 5, 2010


The individually-wrapped cigarettes would preserve their freshness, making their smoke more flavorful - thus encouraging the habit.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:21 AM on August 5, 2010


Why not just randomly load some percentage of them?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:22 AM on August 5, 2010


just ban prepackaged cigarettes altogether... rolling cigarettes made me cut back alot
posted by atomicmedia at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2010


Semi-jinx, zarq.

I owe you half a coke blunt! :D
posted by zarq at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe they could sell cigarettes in something like a CD jewel case, complete with the shrinkwrap and the sticker across the top edge.
posted by carter at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2010


I quit smoking over six years ago and when I saw this I thought "Hmmm... I'd kinda like a Marlboro red."

I've never been a regular smoker, never more than a pack a year or so, and I haven't had a smoke in a couple of years--nicotine doesn't agree with me anymore, for some reason--but I still craved a Lucky Strike when I saw the picture. Fucked up, that is.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:28 AM on August 5, 2010


A consequence of starting smoking as a teenager and thus fetishising the packaging, no doubt.

On this front: alcohol. Some gorgeous packaging.

On preview: just ban prepackaged cigarettes altogether... rolling cigarettes made me cut back alot

Seriously? Seemed to be a loving part of the ritual for my gang. Though I think their intake tripled when they got ahold of one of these.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:29 AM on August 5, 2010


I'll give up my cigarettes when they make people give up their motorcycles and mountain climbing. Climbing mount Everest is like 10 times more likely to kill you than smoking for 20 years.

Anyway, all the bullshit about the packaging doesn't mean anything unless he makes the box out of Mylar or Tyvek. Any dumbass can rip the end off of a cardboard box and turn it into a more traditional pack.
posted by Megafly at 9:29 AM on August 5, 2010


I suddenly have a ravenous desire for a Marlboro.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2010


The individually-wrapped cigarettes would preserve their freshness, making their smoke more flavorful - thus encouraging the habit.

Yes, as a former smoker (ages 12-25), I can say, without a doubt, that my habit was driven by my desire for freshness and flavor, not a subliminal craving for nicotine.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:34 AM on August 5, 2010


Why not just randomly load some percentage of them?

When I smoked, I used to joke that they should just make one cigarette in every, I dunno, 250,000 be wicked poisonous, kill you on the spot. Make it widely known that these killer smokes were out there, make it part of the understood risks of buying cigarettes. Every pack of smokes would be like a game of russian roulette. Aside from the obvious, though, another problem is that would make smoking look SO BADASS.

Just make loose tobacco and papers available at a very high price, but no packs of cigarettes.

Naw, man! Papers aren't just for tobacco, you know.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:37 AM on August 5, 2010


what I love about this thread is how a pile of smart, self-aware smokers explain, in detail, the extent of their addiction and the many ways they easily overcome what designers, legislators and do-gooders think are insurmountable obstacles to normal human behavior. Policy nerds, here's your anecdata. Get cracking.
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:37 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm a former smoker; been quit for about a year and a half. I think all this stuff is crap. All of the social shaming we heap on smokers. It's crap. Cigarette packs to make you feel guilty with awful pictures of diseased lungs. It's crap. Draconian laws about not being able to smoke inside your own home or within 20 feet of a building. It's crap. It's all a bunch of crap designed to make smokers feel guilty. So we can wag our little fingers at them and go "shame shame shame." Fuck that. Let the smokers smoke. My whole damn smoking life, anytime somebody poked their idiot nose into my face and said something like "you know, those things will kill you" I was all like "fucking duh!" and went on smoking my cigarette. If anything, it made me want to smoke even more.

Know what made me quit? I was ready to quit. And I read a damn good book that was recommended by two former smokers I knew. In two short weeks I undid all the social brainwashing that enabled my smoking habit. I quit cold-turkey after 18 years of smoking. (I started real young)

So, fuck shaming smokers. Preachy anti-smokers with their whining about second-hand smoke should take a fucking look around. You get more lung damage from the cars clogging up our cities' streets than -- god forbid! -- the half-breath of second-hand smoke you may have to breathe in from passing a smoker on the street.

I say stop shaming smokers. Let them enjoy their habits with impunity. Hell, they're paying for it with their lives.

If you want to be a good non-smoker, don't try to shame the smoker. Instead, just be there. Don't lecture. And if you hear someone say, "I really want to quit smoking, but ..." recommend this book. Be there to help. Quitting smokers need help and support -- they already know they want to quit, they just may need an extra nudge or two. But leave the damn smokers alone. Let them kill themselves in peace.

And if you actually care about your lungs, do something that actually helps! Support public transportation and sane urban planning. Make gasoline more expensive and parking spaces more scarce. I have much more scorn for drivers than I do for smokers.

And before you jump all over me, yes, I know that chronic second-hand smoke can be a problem. People should not smoke around their children, and they should pretty much never smoke indoors unless they're only around smokers.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:41 AM on August 5, 2010 [42 favorites]


Ha! I like these.

Love always finds a way :)

Yeah, I really only smoke if I'm out drinking at a bar or some such, but at that point, I would generally do whatever I needed to in order to open a pack. Like, you could put a pack inside a box full of live rabid badgers, and I would be all, "Whoa! No way I'm gettin' in there!" and then after a couple of pints, I'd be like, "I'll be right back, I'm going to that bodega on the corner to buy a pair of heavy gloves."

Anyway, I usally keep mine in a little hard case, which has the benefit of not crushing the smokes (and forcing the tobacco out of them) when it's in my bag. Another annoying design might be an extremely flimsy carton, so that cigarettes break and slough apart.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:42 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


While I despise tobacco and the peddlers of death that sell it, I do have a soft spot for all the dumb macho bullshit they did as marketing.
posted by wcfields at 9:47 AM on August 5, 2010


the half-breath of second-hand smoke you may have to breathe in from passing a smoker on the street

This is a fun, light thread, and I don't think it will really benefit from the same conversation that has been had so very many times before.

If you want to bait that hook with this particular misrepresentation, though, I will say that I don't think smokers are any worse than the absolutely rancid, feces-and-b.o. reeking passengers I occasionally share a bus with. Being on a par with them is nothing to be proud of, though (and far more likely to be a condition under their control). An actual exhalation of smoke is quite beside the point. So yeah, I support public transportation, but I don't enjoy smearing Tiger Balm beneath my nostrils to do it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:50 AM on August 5, 2010


This is brilliant. Such a great case of reverse-branding. The punchline is funny, too. Surprisingly, it's also one of the best ways to evaluate what to fix or improve (you end up doing the reverse of the wrong case scenario). His portfolio is great, have a look at the rest.
posted by Vomiaouaf at 9:53 AM on August 5, 2010


His other stuff is really great, but my god, the packaging.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:56 AM on August 5, 2010


Don't get me wrong -- the "second life for packaging components" is awesome-cool, but you have to like candles in proportion to kiwis...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2010


I like how the went all meta and designed their site to be just as annoying to use as their ridiculous cigarette pack idea.

Okay, I'll bite: there are links on the left and all the content loads into one scrollable page. What's so annoying about it?
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:57 AM on August 5, 2010


I'll give up my cigarettes when they make people give up their motorcycles and mountain climbing. Climbing mount Everest is like 10 times more likely to kill you than smoking for 20 years.

I seriously hope this is a joke. Otherwise, let's talk about the extent to which multinational companies with billion-dollar advertising budgets actively and successfully encourage a substantial fraction of the world's population to engage in behavior that's dangerous to themselves and those around them vis-a-vis mountain climbing.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


The diamond-shaped box has filled me with an almost overwhelming desire to smoke just because it looks so cool - inconvenience be damned. I want to save the packs and then build things out of them.
posted by zylocomotion at 9:58 AM on August 5, 2010


Well of course this wouldn't actually work. As has been said repeatedly, all the preventative measures in the world don't really matter when dealing with an addicted population or, you know, people who just really enjoy smoking. In Canada, the things tend to run $10+/pack; we've got the gross pictures (Though what is "E" suggesting, exactly? That, leading by example, you'll make your children want to become dowdy, chain-smoking drag queens?); stores aren't allowed to display them (no need to make a difficult-to-brand pack when the government can just demand you keep them under the counter); and if the government isn't mandating that manufacturers include some additive to make Canadian cigarettes taste as awful as they do, then somebody has got some real explaining to do.

All that said, though, let's try to keep in mind that we're looking at a design project by a gentleman who includes his high school GPA on his résumé. This isn't some senior analyst at the HHS. The piece was clever and well-executed, and the thinking that went into it was thorough. A+, sir.

Now, I am going to go smoke.
posted by wreckingball at 10:05 AM on August 5, 2010


Otherwise, let's talk about the extent to which multinational companies with billion-dollar advertising budgets actively and successfully encourage a substantial fraction of the world's population to engage in behavior that's dangerous to themselves and those around them vis-a-vis mountain climbing.

I just pictured a grinning sherpa lighting up a Newport over two dead yuppies in several-thousand-dollar climbing gear.
posted by griphus at 10:05 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Let them enjoy their habits with impunity. Hell, they're paying for it with their lives.

And who's paying for all their health care costs?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:05 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wrap it in concrete for all care - when I want a cigarette I'm damn well going to get to it and the packaging will go to hell.
posted by fuq at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2010


I just pictured a grinning sherpa lighting up a Newport over two dead yuppies in several-thousand-dollar climbing gear.

Me too! Except replace "sherpa" with "Yeti."
posted by Gator at 10:08 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I rarely smoke anymore but I just have to say that I love the design of cigarette packets. And (UK people) how satisfying is it to hold a pack of 20 in your hand after weeks of buying packs of 10 in some half-assed attempt to quit?

Yeah, I really only smoke if I'm out drinking at a bar or some such, but at that point, I would generally do whatever I needed to in order to open a pack.

This so much. Almost all the times I halfheartedly tried to give up it was destroyed by me going out and having a drink with fellow smokers and my resistance slowly breaking down.

The other times I think were me having a really bad dream, waking up and freaking out, and going for a cigarette to calm down. I still feel this way sometimes & I wonder if anyone else does or if I'm just weird.
posted by Put the kettle on at 10:10 AM on August 5, 2010


Okay, I'll bite: there are links on the left and all the content loads into one scrollable page. What's so annoying about it?

I don't get it, either. Is my Ad/Flash blocker stopping something annoying?
posted by muddgirl at 10:12 AM on August 5, 2010


I do think it's pretty ridiculous that ALL of his content is .jpg images, including his resume, with no text content whatsoever.

Also, he has listed his high school perfect attendance award on said resume.
posted by Gator at 10:18 AM on August 5, 2010


...And that would also explain how we've managed to use up all his bandwidth in the course of a couple of hours, too.
posted by Gator at 10:21 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it must be the text rendered in the jpegs. It's an accessibility no-no, right? I mean it looks okay to me, and I'm not complaining, but without the images, you also lose the narrative.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2010


I think the best thing we could do to packaging is virtually eliminate branding. Packs should be made of plain, dull paperboard with a mandated generic typeface. The only customization allowed would be the brand name itself, but not the colors, typefaces, point sizes, arrangement, etc. No logos. The brand name would be fairly small type; the majority of the pack would be taken up with warnings.

Something like this, except a cigarette pack instead of a soda can.

I also think that all tobacco products should only be available from government-owned stores at set rates. All of the money should go back to smoking prevention programs. Private sales of tobacco products means people have a profit motive to give other people cancer, emphysema, heart disease, etc, which is just disgusting and demonstrably harmful (see, e.g., the decades long effort to cover-up the negative health effects of smoking).

By default I usually I favor the free market, but addictive drugs don't "play fair" in the free market. People can't make rational economic decisions about something when their brains are addicted to it, so strong regulation is needed to re-level the playing field.
posted by jedicus at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


And thats why his bandwidth is now fucked.

Not actually having seen this site, because of said bandwidthfuckage, I know lots of architects and industrial designers that think they can design websites. And yeah, maybe they can get it to look alright, but they have little understanding of what good web practices are. 30 jpgs, and a navigation ul, does not a robust site make.
posted by fontophilic at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2010


Gator, these cats have been accused of trying anything to get around little inconveniences in advertising law, so yeah, diamond packaging ain't no big thing.

In the alternate universe where this thought experiment exists.
posted by Chichibio at 10:22 AM on August 5, 2010


Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
posted by mike3k at 10:23 AM on August 5, 2010


So, fuck shaming smokers. Preachy anti-smokers with their whining about second-hand smoke should take a fucking look around. You get more lung damage from the cars clogging up our cities' streets than -- god forbid! -- the half-breath of second-hand smoke you may have to breathe in from passing a smoker on the street.

You're completely full of shit.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:24 AM on August 5, 2010


Perfect attendance in high school is exactly what I'd expect of a packaging nerd.

At least until he's expelled. You think he got kicked out for just the aquarium? Nah. That ain't it. It was the hand job.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The packaging solution that will get absolutely everyone to stop smoking immediately:

Label every pack, in huge letters, HIPSTER APPROVED
posted by shakespeherian at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, thanks Gator.
posted by muddgirl at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2010


Things that smoking has killed: This site. Bandwidth exceeded.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:26 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fucked up, that is.

Yep. After six years I have zero desire to actually smoke a cigarette, even when I'm around smokers. Yet when I see designs of packs, especially shiny new product lines, something goes off in my brain. Totally fucked up.
posted by ob at 10:41 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Perfect attendance in high school is exactly what I'd expect of a packaging nerd.

Christ, I had perfect attendance in high school. They should put a picture of me as a warning to others--skip a day every once in awhile.
posted by maxwelton at 10:44 AM on August 5, 2010


Soviet cigarette packs are beautiful.
posted by griphus at 10:45 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

I looked up the web host company and it's asmallorange.com. I'm betting the site owner totally jumped on that $2.08/month hosting plan.
posted by crapmatic at 10:49 AM on August 5, 2010


I posted about neat cigarette packs a few years ago -- looks like those might be from the same site.
posted by Gator at 10:49 AM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


please. leave us alone. we get it. you don't like us smoking. ok. complainers notwithstanding, we get the no smoking inside thing, the public and private no smoking areas, all of that. we are willing to work with you on anything that keeps our smoking from being a direct impact on your lives. yes, we have gripers among us, and the industry that sells us these things is almost certainly criminal, but stop punishing the smokers, please. there's a point where it starts to get ridiculous how much policy starts trying to make us change our minds rather than letting us make our own decisions, however poor they may be.
posted by shmegegge at 10:56 AM on August 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


Almost all the times I halfheartedly tried to give up it was destroyed by me going out and having a drink with fellow smokers and my resistance slowly breaking down.

When I first tried to quit this was true, but about 6 months ago I had a cigarette while out for drinks with friends and didn't like it at all, it made me dizzy. I compared it to the experience of going to McDonald's after you haven't been there for a long time; it's instantly satisfying, but soon afterwards you remember why you don't really do that anymore.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:56 AM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh my fucking god Gator you are amazing.

Also: BRIGHTON BEACH BRAND CIGARETTES
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on August 5, 2010


Dang. Bandwidth exceeded.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:00 AM on August 5, 2010


Yikes. That'll teach me to never again not read all the comments before I comment without reading (or being able to read) the original post.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:02 AM on August 5, 2010


Smoking is in this weird place in our culture, and illustrates sharply our divided national character. That makes it useful as an object lesson.

We try make smoking as undesirable as possible without outright outlawing it. Why don't we outlaw it the same way as other drugs? Simply, because the cigarette manufacturers are entrenched and spend billions of dollars both lobbying politicians and positioning tobacco to not look like other soft drugs, like marijuana, and there's still that small but vocal cadre of dedicated smokers that somehow keeps renewing itself over the decades instead of dying out completely.

So we're divided on cigarettes. We can't seem to outlaw them, but we're fairly certain they're bad for you and cause lung cancer. (Only "fairly" because we're idiots who trust advertising more than science.) This results in such weird structures as outlawing cigarettes everywhere public and indoors, plastering "you know these things will kill you?" notices on every pack but in small, easy-to-ignore print, and forcing the tobacco industry to make anti-smoking public service ads, an act that makes about as much sense as asking the lions at the zoo to run the gazelle exhibit. It's really kind of humorous if you look at it from a distance.

Now we're talking about making the packs actually annoying to use? Like that's going to be a deterrent any longer than the five seconds needed to move the cigarettes to a more convenient package. It's so laughable that I wouldn't be surprised if the cigarette companies sponsored it themselves, to give us one more thing that makes it look like we're serious about curtailing smoking without doing anything substantive about it.
posted by JHarris at 11:16 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The best discouragement I've ever seen was on Canadian packs. Instead of having the big YOU WILL FUCKING DIE YOU SHIT warnings you see on the European ones, they have pictures. Some have a diseased lung, sure why not. The really effective ones have a cigarette that's 90% ash in a little curve. Right under it: 'Cigarettes cause impotence.' Effective."

Several guy I know buy only the packages that have pictures warning about the dangers of smoking to a foetus. To uterus, no possible harm.

"After six years I have zero desire to actually smoke a cigarette, even when I'm around smokers. Yet when I see designs of packs, especially shiny new product lines, something goes off in my brain. Totally fucked up."

I don't drink but I have the overwhelming desire every time I'm at a bar that has their hard stuff on display to start doing shots at one end and keep going until I get to the other end or pass out. The bottles and labels are so pretty. Especially Goldschlager, I'm drawn to it like a crow to a shiny object.
posted by Mitheral at 11:30 AM on August 5, 2010


We try make smoking as undesirable as possible without outright outlawing it. Why don't we outlaw it the same way as other drugs?

Because it doesn't impair a user's mental state to the point where they are likely to become an inadvertent threat to those around them.

In that regard, tobacco cigarettes ≠ marijuana. The closest marijuana analogy and example of legal hypocrisy is alcohol, which impairs mental acuity and motor function to a similar degree, but is only regulated by the state rather than outlawed.
posted by zarq at 11:31 AM on August 5, 2010


Soviet cigarette packs are beautiful.

Yes, but smoking a Soviet cigarette is like getting punched in the throat.
posted by lekvar at 11:46 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


please. leave us alone. we get it. you don't like us smoking. ok. complainers notwithstanding, we get the no smoking inside thing, the public and private no smoking areas, all of that. we are willing to work with you on anything that keeps our smoking from being a direct impact on your lives. yes, we have gripers among us, and the industry that sells us these things is almost certainly criminal, but stop punishing the smokers, please. there's a point where it starts to get ridiculous how much policy starts trying to make us change our minds rather than letting us make our own decisions, however poor they may be.

Okay, but if we're standing at a bus stop and you light up and any of your smoke goes in my face or on my clothes, I'm suing you.

But it's not your own decision - like most decisions, it has externalities. Banning smoking infringes your rights, sure, but so does banning heroin, or murder.
posted by doublehappy at 11:52 AM on August 5, 2010


Several guy I know buy only the packages that have pictures warning about the dangers of smoking to a foetus. To uterus, no possible harm.

There's a bit involving this in one of the early episodes of the brilliant Green Wing. A man and a woman are smoking outside the hospital they work at. They notice the gender-specific warnings on their packs, stub out the ones they just started, then take new ones from each other and smoke on in peace.

The "diamond pack" would be inconvenient until 5 or 6 were smoked. Then you'd be able to crush one of the obtuse angles and it'd fit right into a front pocket, possibly being even more comfortable than the current hard packs.

smoked from very young age, quit when I was teaching high school, no regrets. Would've been much harder to quit if American cigarettes weren't so expensive and especially so terrible. Snobbishness has its rewards?
posted by jtron at 11:57 AM on August 5, 2010


an act that makes about as much sense as asking the lions at the zoo to run the gazelle exhibit

Here you can see the beautiful gazelle musculature. Now if I just tear this bit back, like so, you can see the really impressive amount of high protein bone marrow available in this portion. Let me just tear the rest of this off... there we go. Now I'll pass this around so each of you can take a closer look.
posted by Babblesort at 11:58 AM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


there are newer books about tobacco and what happens when you light it on fire but I like this one, and you can't beat the used price, not with a [cancer] stick
posted by jtron at 12:04 PM on August 5, 2010


And who's paying for all their health care costs?

A specious argument, because it could be (and is being!) used to justify legal curtailing of many behaviors. Car accidents cost society more in medical costs and lost work than tobacco, but I don't see anyone suggesting that cars should be illegal.

On top of that, the tobacco companies paid out billions that could have been used to offset medical costs (how much have car companies paid, again? Oh, right.) and the states squandered it.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:39 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


We try make smoking as undesirable as possible without outright outlawing it. Why don't we outlaw it the same way as other drugs?

One reason would be harm reduction. By keeping tobacco legal but regulated we can ensure that at least the product isn't cut with harmful additives, isn't sold to all and sundry (e.g., minors), and we can tax it. It also helps keep organized crime out of the picture.

Compare to a situation in which tobacco is banned outright. The void will just be filled in the same way as other illegal drugs: organized crime selling an impure product at an absurd premium to anyone who will light up, including children.

I'll grant the real motivation for politicians is almost certainly money. After all, we give hundreds of millions in subsidies to tobacco farmers. And of course we've allowed tobacco companies to sell adulterated product and advertise to minors, but at least in theory harm reduction is one reason to leave the product legal but highly regulated and its use discouraged.
posted by jedicus at 12:47 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wasn't ready to give up my sweet, sweet nicotine, so I simply switched over to Swedish snus. Harm reduction was my motivation, as the Swedish government has extensively studied the stuff and found no major links to cancer (and certainly nothing worse than smoking).

The bonus is that Swedish snus is much, MUCH cheaper than cigarettes, even here in Oregon where a pack is still around $5. Ordering online, I got 2 months worth of snus for about $55, whereas I used to spend around $120 per month on the death sticks.

The only time I find myself really wanting a cigarette is after a few beers, or after smoking the wacky varietal of tobacco.

The stupid thing is, because Marlboro and Camel now have their own (very shitty) versions of snus, it's the only thing you can find in stores. The new PACT Act has made it slightly more expensive to get snus, and you are practically guaranteed to have to order it online (only a few brands are ever available in retail, and only then at a very select few stores), but even with the new taxes it's still dramatically cheaper, I don't have to go outside every hour or two, I can smell things now, and I can ride my bike up hills without keeling over.

One other stupid thing is having to explain to everybody that it's not dip... every single time you take out the package in front of people.
posted by Clamwacker at 1:20 PM on August 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Snus KNOCKED ME OUT. A Swedish friend encouraged me to try, but warned me to "not hold it in (my mouth) for too long". Well, it didn't take long for the incredible dizziness to set in (not a smoker, though, so my tolerance is zero). Gah.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:29 PM on August 5, 2010


too much preaching for my taste. I dislike being exposed to smoking as much as the next guy but it worries me what those preachers will focus on next. might it be chocolate? (I'd be fucked.) might it be alcohol? (I'd be fucked.) might it be ironic t-shirts? (I'd be fucked.)

I don't want to be the focus of some self-righteous screwball who needs to absolutely positively make sure I suffer as much as possible because he doesn't like me enjoying whatever it is.
posted by krautland at 1:30 PM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Designed to Annoy:

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.


Ok, I am annoyed.
posted by Xoebe at 2:06 PM on August 5, 2010


mirror site, more or less of the original post (i think)
posted by dongolier at 2:26 PM on August 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


please. leave us alone. we get it. you don't like us smoking. ok. complainers notwithstanding, we get the no smoking inside thing, the public and private no smoking areas, all of that. we are willing to work with you on anything that keeps our smoking from being a direct impact on your lives. yes, we have gripers among us, and the industry that sells us these things is almost certainly criminal, but stop punishing the smokers, please. there's a point where it starts to get ridiculous how much policy starts trying to make us change our minds rather than letting us make our own decisions, however poor they may be.

yeah, I'm totally with you on this. I've never smoked and my fondest wish is to be able to rent a reasonably priced apartment in a totally non-smoking building (because all the air systems are connected, you know).

with that said, I think any adult who wants to smoke should be able to. when the 1995 florida indoor clean air act put in stricter measures in 2003, it banned smoking indoors at any food/drink establishment that got more than 30% of revenue from food sales. that means all those bar-restaurants had to go nonsmoking, to the chagrin of their owners and the rage of their patrons.

a few held out, with tip jars to try to pay the expected fines, but regulators told them they couldn't do that. One of the most notorious holdouts, Grandma's Kitchen at the Citgo truckstop on US 301 in Tampa shut down rather than comply.

why not allow smoking establishments to say so, prominently, and let adults decide whether to patronize them (or work there)? maybe charge a little more for the business license and apply the money to a state health care fund?

I hate cigarette smoke but I got nuthin against smokers. And demonizing and belittling people generally just makes them stick tighter to whatever behavior it was you wanted them to change.
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:55 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


why not allow smoking establishments to say so, prominently, and let adults decide whether to patronize them (or work there)?

Some state anti-smoking laws only apply to places of public accommodation and not private clubs. So theoretically someone could start a private club with a restaurant that allowed smoking. And indeed some private clubs do allow smoking.

However, this ignores the workers. It might be one thing if the state compensated people who work at smoking establishments for the additional danger such work poses to their health, but states don't do that. And obviously the restaurants and clubs don't offer "hazard pay" for second hand smoke.

You might suppose that the free market would lead to bus boys, waiters, etc demanding higher pay for working in dangerous conditions, but the economic reality is that a) it's an employers' market so the workers have no bargaining power, especially for such low-end jobs and b) there are lots of workers who themselves smoke and thus care considerably less about the danger of second hand smoke. The practical upshot is that simply banning smoking in workplaces is probably the simplest approach.
posted by jedicus at 3:03 PM on August 5, 2010


A specious argument, because it could be (and is being!) used to justify legal curtailing of many behaviors. Car accidents cost society more in medical costs and lost work than tobacco, but I don't see anyone suggesting that cars should be illegal.

Cars are not intrinsically damaging to the user, only if they're misused. Specious...?

Personally, I don't care if anyone smokes. I'd prefer it if they didn't do it around me though.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:16 PM on August 5, 2010


Yes, but smoking a Soviet cigarette is like getting punched in the throat.

In Soviet Russia, cigarette hits you!
posted by thescientificmethhead at 3:19 PM on August 5, 2010


However, this ignores the workers. It might be one thing if the state compensated people who work at smoking establishments for the additional danger such work poses to their health, but states don't do that. And obviously the restaurants and clubs don't offer "hazard pay" for second hand smoke.

yeah, I thought of that - especially since I've heard that Dana Reeve, a lifelong nonsmoker, died of lung cancer she probably got as a nightclub singer. But I guess I was thinking there would be a large enough number of nonsmoking establishments to accommodate nonsmoking employees and vice-versa. after all, there are craploads of other dangerous occupations whose danger is only partially mitigated by safety regulations, standards and inspections. if you don't feel you can safely be an electrician or a grader operator, you go do something else, right?

now, coal mining. don't throw that in my face, please. I've got no answer. and btw, I think more dangerous occupations should pay more - all of them.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:21 PM on August 5, 2010


The practical upshot is that simply banning smoking in workplaces is probably the simplest approach.

I suggest that legislating a minimum workplace air-quality OR smoking ban would be a more intelligent way to accomplish the same thing. How many cigar bars and hookah lounges have been closed due to the anti-smoking legislations? 2 that I know of, and I'm in a much more tolerant state than many others here.

I frequent a hookah bar with excellent ventilation/filters where you can't even smell the smoke. I'd be willing to bet that the air in there is cleaner than in the parking lot outside, yet they are a law away from being forced to close.

The anti-smoking laws have nothing to do with protecting workers or saving on health-care costs; there are others ways to accomplish that without a ban. They are about control. It makes a lot of people happy to forbid others to do things that they don't like.
posted by coolguymichael at 3:27 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


y keeping tobacco legal but regulated we can ensure that at least the product isn't cut with harmful additives

You know what they put in cigarettes, right?

I suggest that legislating a minimum workplace air-quality OR smoking ban would be a more intelligent way to accomplish the same thing. How many cigar bars and hookah lounges have been closed due to the anti-smoking legislations? 2 that I know of, and I'm in a much more tolerant state than many others here.

Establishments where the workers all at least partially own the place can allow smoking, correct?
posted by mrgrimm at 3:28 PM on August 5, 2010


If anyone is interested in cigarette packs as much as I just wrote a post featuring my favorites of the Russian/Soviet designs thanks to Gator's linked site, if anyone is interested.
posted by griphus at 3:55 PM on August 5, 2010


Cars are not intrinsically damaging to the user, only if they're misused. Specious...?

Yes, specious. "Having the false look of truth." If health care costs were the primary driver of anti-smoking laws, the tobacco settlement would have gone to health care costs and/or smoking prevention.
And as I mentioned above, you can improve air quality in an establishment without banning smoking, but no one's pushing for "indoor air quality" legislation, only smoking bans.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:00 PM on August 5, 2010


"I looked up the web host company and it's asmallorange.com. I'm betting the site owner totally jumped on that $2.08/month hosting plan."

Nothing really wrong with that. I've got like $5 in my nearly free speech account. It's as much as I can afford and if some one I don't even know can't get my site to come up it's not actually a problem for me.

toodleydoodley writes "yeah, I'm totally with you on this. I've never smoked and my fondest wish is to be able to rent a reasonably priced apartment in a totally non-smoking building (because all the air systems are connected, you know)."

A well constructed residential building won't have interconnected air handlers because they are a fire risk. The big problem is the interconnected hallways/entrances. Smoking fumes are so noxious that the air exchange that happens when people open their doors can noticably contaminate nonsmoking apartments.

coolguymichael writes "And as I mentioned above, you can improve air quality in an establishment without banning smoking, but no one's pushing for 'indoor air quality' legislation, only smoking bans."

Smoking bans are cheap, cheap, cheap; monitoring and enforcing air quality is expensive. And failures are going to be common, a bright line ban in my experience essentially doesn't have failures.
posted by Mitheral at 4:15 PM on August 5, 2010


Russian cigarettes made me start smoking again.
posted by fuq at 4:44 PM on August 5, 2010


The half packs reminds me of the cigarettes in the Fifth Element, which were 80% filter and 20% tobacco.
posted by Evilspork at 4:53 PM on August 5, 2010


You know what they put in cigarettes, right?

Right, which is why I said "of course we've allowed tobacco companies to sell adulterated product and advertise to minors, but at least in theory harm reduction is one reason to leave the product legal but highly regulated and its use discouraged."
posted by jedicus at 6:22 PM on August 5, 2010


"Russian cigarettes made me start smoking again."

Those things smell AMAZING.

Smokers are the best. I will totally chill with smokers, asthma and all, because they get to go outside, walk around, and have their own little sub-group of awesomeness. And they always let me pretend to smoke.

For real though, almost every smoker I know is trying to cut down or quit. Why you gotta make their lives more annoying? It's just mean spirited and punitive and, for fuck's sake, people are addicted. They're not like HA HA HA FUCK YOU NON-SMOKERS AND HEALTH CARE COSTS, I'M GONNA SPEND $10 A PACK AND HAVE A CONSTANT HACKING COUGH JUST TO PISS YOU OFF! HA HA!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:29 PM on August 5, 2010


Yes, specious. "Having the false look of truth."

It's great you can clarify others arguments, but throwing out the old canard "why don't they outlaw sharp sticks?" is a bit specious in itself though.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2010


A well constructed residential building won't have interconnected air handlers because they are a fire risk. The big problem is the interconnected hallways/entrances. Smoking fumes are so noxious that the air exchange that happens when people open their doors can noticably contaminate nonsmoking apartments.

yeah but I live in Florida where well-constructed occurs only under duress (see pre-Andrew construction codes for brutal proof). I'm talking about apartment complexes with no interior hallways or entrances, where every unit has its own exterior entrance and there are no balconies or other inter-unit connection. the smoke pours through the kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, and even comes bubbling up through the plumbing. I couldn't move fast enough.
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:30 AM on August 6, 2010


For real though, almost every smoker I know is trying to cut down or quit. Why you gotta make their lives more annoying?

But that was the whole point! To help smokers not want to smoke.

or what ob said: After six years I have zero desire to actually smoke a cigarette, even when I'm around smokers. Yet when I see designs of packs, especially shiny new product lines, something goes off in my brain.

We certainly regulate commercial expression, though not product design. Yet.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:17 AM on August 6, 2010


Okay, but if we're standing at a bus stop and you light up and any of your smoke goes in my face or on my clothes, I'm suing you.

it's weird, because you quoted my entire comment, but it's like you didn't actually read it.
posted by shmegegge at 9:00 AM on August 6, 2010


But that was the whole point! To help smokers not want to smoke.

My point is that a majority of smokers already don't want to smoke, but it is addictive. I guess you could just push them a little further into not wanting to smoke by essentially punishing them for it, but I think past a certain point punishing and/or shaming people for doing something that is very hard to quit doing is kinda fucked up.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:37 AM on August 6, 2010


I don't think an inconveniently-shaped package is shaming. It's much more like the kind of strategy that shinybaum mentioned (though he noted that this did not work). I'm sure I've heard alcoholics express on a few occasions that prominent displays and advertising make their struggle more difficult. They might consider legislating such things (if it jibed with their notions of liberty) as being attempts to "help" them defeat their impulses.

But I agree with you, certainly, that this can cross a rather ill-defined line into oppressive state behaviour. I don't agree with the previous poster, however, who opined that anti-smoking bans, ostensibly about the workers, are really motivated by schadenfreude. The policy-makers I've known have not seemed eager to punish smokers (many of them smoke, themselves) rather than protect workers, and "air quality" standards would be impossible to enforce.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:48 AM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, what DB just said. Not shaming or punishing; just making the addictive substance seem less attractive: like requiring casinos and malls to put Gambling Anonymous and Shoppers Anonymous promotions on their front doors.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:23 AM on August 6, 2010


I'm sure I've heard alcoholics express on a few occasions that prominent displays and advertising make their struggle more difficult. They might consider legislating such things (if it jibed with their notions of liberty) as being attempts to "help" them defeat their impulses.

this is a tough call. cigarettes are already far more restricted than alcohol in terms of where they can advertise. They can't advertise on tv, the radio, the subway (at least in nyc), and I think I remember hearing that they can't have billboards within sight of schools. I might have imagined that last one, though. At that point I'm not sure how much help further legislation would be for smokers. cutting out those last little bits of advertising they're allowed to do would be removing so little it's probably not really worth it.

and in truth, there are still people in this country, myself included, who just want to smoke. sure plenty of us struggle with quitting and I for one am all for doing what's necessary to help them do that. but unless someone starts passing legislation to force health insurers to cover addiction treatment, I don't see what more can be done by passing law.
posted by shmegegge at 1:14 PM on August 6, 2010


This is absolutely brilliant! And well-executed. Thanks for posting it.
posted by agregoli at 2:38 PM on August 6, 2010


Late to the party I suppose, but I think taxes are the way to go. They impose pain on the smoker, but unlike this other stuff, the rest of us get something out of it.
posted by grobstein at 8:03 AM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


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