Surgeon General's Warning:
July 3, 2000 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Surgeon General's Warning: Canadian cigarette packages will soon make you gag, but only contain things which may complicate pregnancy.
posted by ZachsMind (26 comments total)
Puh-leez!!!! I grew up with all those nasty pictures in my classroom, and it didn't stop me when I started smoking. I snuck a peek at their survey "Would this make you quit" and the large majority said "yes"

Bullshit. People will just tune it out in time.

If astronomical prices and my kids begging me wont do it, this lame pics wont either....
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 2:58 PM on July 3, 2000

Hell, some nonsmokers will start buying them as collector's pieces. Tourists will find them to be great souvenirs. I'm tempted to ask my Transplanted Quebequois ex-wife to buy a couple and mail them to me. I can't smoke them, but they'd be kewl keepsakes.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:15 PM on July 3, 2000

i wish ciggys were packed in fluorescent orange, with a big fluorescent blue skull and crossbones on the front and back.

That way, when my pack gets buried underneath papers/books/cds or whatever else ends up on mydesk, I can find them quickly. And I could find them faster in the morning too. There's nothing worse than wandering around, groggy and niccing and trying to find my smokes. I forget where my smokes are nearly every morning, and I HATE those few minutes between waking up and lighting up.
posted by katchomko at 6:15 PM on July 3, 2000

*shakes head* You bad boys! I'm a healthy non-smoker! YAY! ;-)
posted by FAB4GIRL at 6:19 PM on July 3, 2000

I do not smoke, but I have great sympathy for those who do. We all know smoking is bad for you, anybody who does it knows they should not. I do not know why some people line up to say the human genome should not be used to test the insurability, but have no problem railing on smokers. I know one is a choice and the other is not, but we all engage in risky behavior. Why is this one singled out? Should there be accident photos on liquor, Diabetic amputated limbs shown on rich food packaging? Those the Truth ads (no link for those snotty little bastards) irritate me beyond belief. Who is paying to run those ads, they are on every 10 minutes it seems like. I have a sneaky feeling th government is spending my money somehow. The little faux hipsters look like fools spouting Big Toe-Bacco erevy 5 words. Why do people think they have to legislate and enforce health behavior?
posted by thirteen at 6:46 PM on July 3, 2000

This is like those "death cigarettes" they had on sale around here for a while. They were in a black package with a big white skull and crossbones, and had a message that was something like "Do not smoke these. They will kill you." They were pretty popular for a while, especially in "we're so cool we do stuff that kills us for fun" Hollywood.
posted by dogwelder at 7:58 PM on July 3, 2000

Everybody knows that smoking is COOL. There.
posted by tiaka at 8:22 PM on July 3, 2000

While not a smoker (anymore) I'm always a bit cynical about such anti-cigarette campaigns. More often than not, it's the cigarette companies that are behind them. Why? Because they know it'll get the feds off their back, and won't really hurt their sales.

While I can't say much about Canada, that's usually the case here in the US.

Speaking of which, does anyone know who's behind the "Truth" campaigns here in the States? All those slick ads and that nifty website must cost a great deal of money. I don't think the American Lung Association has that kind of cash . . .
posted by aladfar at 10:55 PM on July 3, 2000

I believe that the tobacco companies are being forced to pay for that campaign as part of a recent settlement. They also had to foot the bill for all (or at least a hefty majority) of their billboards to be converted to anti-smoking ads. I cant remember the aproximate date/conditions of the settlement or I'd go dig up some links, but I seem to remember this being the case...

I think it's fitting. Bleah, tobacco.
posted by bryanboyer at 12:37 AM on July 4, 2000

The ads probably aren't quite as expensive as you would think, because the networks are basically required to run them at no cost, as I understand it. Of course, the networks also have the option of letting the White House determine the content of anti-drug episodes of their dramas and sitcoms. Pretty scary stuff...
posted by sudama at 8:21 AM on July 4, 2000

people think they have to legislate and enforce health behavior so that it really is a choice.

my grandmother quit smoking cold turkey so she could visit me when I was little. until most restaurants became completely non-smoking, I couldn't go out to eat. when airplanes had smoking sections, I couldn't fly. I still can't visit my friends who live in dorms where people smoke, or go to indoor concerts.

I'm an extreme case, but the point is that things like smoking and drinking affect the health of everyone, not just the people who partake. I do believe that people's right to do what they please should be protected, but no one is being hurt by these ads and restrictions and taxes and whatnot. everyone is being hurt when they smoke or when they're around people who are smoking. for some odd reason that either doesn't matter or doesn't even occur to a lot of people.

on the other hand, I think that rick stoddard guy who is in about ten different tv and radio commercials about how his wife marie died thanks to cigarettes is getting way too much airtime. no one is going to listen to whatever message he has once they get sick of hearing him all the time.

I don't know how to get kids to stop picking up smoking. but it seems better than to try and fail than to not try at all. if the gross-factor and death threat approach isn't working . . . what do you think would work better?
posted by rabi at 1:08 PM on July 4, 2000

rabi: I know a woman who is hyper sensitive to smells. Many things are too intense for her. She cannot bear to got to restaurants because someone is always wearing perfume, and it makes her ill. She cannot drive behind other cars, because the exhaust comes in throught the vents and makes her vomit. No one would think to label these things. I have sympathy for your inability to tolerate smoke. I don't like smoke either, but I do not think our dislike of smoke trumps the rights of others. So many of the things we do in public inconvience others. Baseball games in my neigbhorhood cause miserable traffic, people talking on cell phones pollute the air with inane conversation. Those people do not care and why should they? If our society was polite this would not be a problem, but laws will not make us polite. I think it is great that there are non-smoking restaurants, if I had a restaurant or bar it would be a non-smoking establishment, but if I smoked myself I would think it strange that I could not smoke in my own place. In those situations it is up to you to stay out of places you cannot handle. I don't go see many live bands in bars anymore because the smoke bothers me. I accept it. That is where I think the choice lies. I think it is just as bad that people have to stand outside and smoke in the rain and winter, as it is that you cannot go certain places.
As for your last question, I do not think it is up to me or the government to encourage or discourage behavior. The government is not a tool for social change, it becomes dangerous if you use it as such.
posted by thirteen at 1:50 PM on July 4, 2000

about the only thing that irritates me (a smoker) about rampant non-smoking legislature is that you can't (in Ontario at least) open an "all-smoking" restaurant/bar/whatever.

If I decide to go to a non-smoking establishment I know I won't be smoking, and if a non-smoker goes to an establishment without a non-smoking section they should know what to expect.

"But the workers! Think of the employees!" I hear the cries. To them I say "Tough" and "Get a job somewhere else, maybe one of those non-smoking only joints."
posted by cCranium at 3:16 PM on July 4, 2000

Phillip Morris sponsers a lot of anti-smoking commercials these days, my 7th grade science teacher told us the commercials use subliminal-style messages, actually promote smoking. Lots of kids saying, "I'm old enough to make my own decisions...and I choose not to smoke." Also, the word "smoke" is repeated incessantly.
Also, I don't know many smokers (myself included, I must be honest) who are rude about it, most of us do not smoke in places where others might be bothered (excepting hyper-sensitive people like the above mentioned), or try not to smoke in front of children. I also agree the government is not a moral entity, it is a law-creating/enforcement agency.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:29 PM on July 4, 2000

What are laws though? Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit murder. I mean the line between church and state has always been a grey one. Even things like safety belts in cars and helmets on motorcycles. It's the gov't legislating in order to insure a safer and healthier public. The recent attacks on the tobacco lobby are just another example of that. Prohibition in the 20s was another. Illegalizing drugs. Keeping prostitution illegal. It's legistlating morality.

Off the top of my head I can't think of a single law in our society that's not designed to limit our actions to insure we at least give the illusion of treating one another sensibly. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but sometimes it goes too far.

Still, crimes that some claim are victumless may still have a victum. Attempts to keep smoking from happening in public places insures nonsmokers don't have to suffer from a risk of cancer just because a smoker in proximity has chosen to take that risk.

If they tell me by law I can't smoke period, well it's a law trying to keep me from making myself the victum of my own arrogance and desire to continue smoking. I mean I can understand it, but I don't want anyone telling me what I can or can't do to myself.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:09 PM on July 4, 2000

"I think it is just as bad that people have to stand outside and smoke in the rain and winter, as it is that you cannot go certain places."

I don't think it's bad at all. You want to f*ck up your lungs, you go right ahead, it's your body. But you have no right to force me to breathe in that crap. And by smoking in the same room as me, that's exactly what you're doing. Don't even try to tell me that I should find somewhere else to go, either. Don't try to turn the smokers into victims by talking about how unfair it is that they're not allowed to poison my air. I shouldn't have to leave a restaurant because some guy next to me can't wait until he leaves before lighting up.

Like ZachsMind said. "Attempts to keep smoking from happening in public places insures nonsmokers don't have to suffer from a risk of cancer just because a smoker in proximity has chosen to take that risk."
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:44 PM on July 4, 2000

I assume you meant that as a general "you", and not me, as I do not smoke. It is true, I do think most non-smokers are as soft as sugarcookies in the rain. Everybody whining about their precious lungs, it would mean more to me if it did not seem the the people who complain the loudest didn't have some equally dangerous vice. I have one friend who will not tolerate tobacco, but has no problem smoking crack, or snorting a little heroin every once in a while. I don't think anybody should drink, they often drive and create a dangerous situation that can involve me even tho I am completely innocent. Should people who drink be forced to drive on different roads than I do? I get more nervous changing the toner in the copier than I do spending time with a smoker, I wish there was a law to protect me from the evil of toner, whine. All I was saying was that we should have choices. There should be restaurants and bars where people can smoke. There should be non-smoking places as well. Why on earth should you be able to control other peoples actions, anywhere you go, just because you do not like what they are doing. The subject is a little dificult for me as I believe personal rights end about an inch from my body, and the smoke does travel, but when we go out in public, we are part of the world. You might get some smoke on you, somebody might take your picture, stuff happens. Nobody should be blowing smoke in your face, but they should not have to stand outside either. You want a smoke free office? There should be a smokers lounge. Surely that is a fair compromise. If I open a smokers haven restaurant, it is your job not to go there. It is not up to the government, or anybody to punish these people for making a legal choice.
Zach made some excellent points about legislating morality, and I am going to think about it for awhile. I prefer to think of the law as protecting the individual, but what is moral is often good for the individual, and I never would have thought to interpret it that way before.
posted by thirteen at 11:57 PM on July 4, 2000

Why on earth should you be able to control other peoples actions, anywhere you go, just because you do not like what they are doing.

thirteen, the issue is not about what you like and don't like other people doing. It's about smokers inflicting harm on others. If your neighbor starting dumping toxic waste into your backyard, or if he hooked his sewer line up to your water line, you'd probably be pretty upset. But by your argument, you shouldn't be complaining just because you don't like what they are doing.

You want a smoke free office? There should be a smokers lounge.

Perhaps. I think its up to the company to decide whether they want to promote smoking or not. After all, since many companies subsidize health insurance, it's in their interest to discourage smokers.

I want to think restaurants and bars should be able to be all-smoking or all-non-smoking if they want. But there's the risk that all restaurants would be too lax about restricting smoking, and it would be hard for non-smokers, who may prefer not to be inundated by cigarette smoke, to enjoy or even tolerate such an establishment.

On the topic of "legislating morality" or government-sponsored discouragement of risky behaviors: As long as the government is in the business of providing medical insurance in the form of Medicare and state-sponsored Medicaid programs, the government also has an interest in the health of its constituents because their health or lack thereof directly affects the costs the government incurs. So whether or not you, as a US taxpayer, like paying for anti-smoking ads, you are paying for smokers' medical care.

If you don't want the government to tell us how to live our lives, you need to get the government out of the business of taking care of us, too.
posted by daveadams at 7:13 AM on July 5, 2000

Uhm... we can't get the gov't out of the business of taking care of us. I think that's the crux of the issue. Whether we like it or not, that's what it does.

Smoking's not good for you. Let's make it illegal. You don't want to get cancer anyway. And we're going to insure all cars have safety belts and airbags because we know what's good for you. Personally, I'm all for safety belts and airbags. They quite literally saved my life once. But the point is it should be my choice. Not something I'm forced to do.

Our 'representatives' in DC don't represent us. They just want to boss us around. The thing is they keep arguing over HOW they're going to boss us around and over what. Will they make us spend money on things we might not have chosen to spend the money on if we had it to spend ourselves? Will they insist our children learn about Christianity whether we want them to be Christians or not?

Fortunately, the liberals want to control socio-economic stuff while conservatives want to control theological morality stuff, but they fight over who gets to control what. So as long as they fight, we still have some freedoms left. It's when they agree on something that "progress" is made, which eventually means we lose yet one more freedom. No wonder when the American people vote a democrat into office we vote republicans into congress and vice versa. We ain't stupid.

Go Gridlock GO!
posted by ZachsMind at 8:13 AM on July 5, 2000

Dave makes many fine points, and I find it difficult to disagree with. You do take the piss out of my arguments, tho full acceptance on my part requires that I believe smoking and willful chemical assault are on par with each other. I do wish to add to it tho. Why single this out? Don't fat people, and the numerous health issues that go along with being fat cost all of us. Doesn't my insurance rate go up when some body drinks himself out of a liver? I drink enough Diet Coke to give cancer to everyone in Baltimore, i'm sure as hell gonna get my tax money back. There are candy and coke machines in my office, there is a bar downstairs. Where is Cary Nation when you need her?
As for your last point, Medicare is welfare. I do not think it is a function of government to provide health services. It seems strange that the government complains about the cost of a program it has no business providing. It is an effective way to control things. Aren't there huge taxes on cigarettes? What is that money going towards? Surely the money paid in taxes on cigarettes everyday is enough to float the money being spent on care for the dying smokers? It is a pyramid just like social security.
In the end, I do not want to pay for anti-smoking ads, I don't want to pay for health care for others, I don't want anyone telling me what to do, nor do I want to tell others what to do.I have nothing more to add to this discussion, I have repeated myself. I have no vested interest, since I do not partake, these are not my rights being taken away.
posted by thirteen at 8:38 AM on July 5, 2000

posted by thirteen at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2000

Our 'representatives' in DC don't represent us. They just want to boss us around. The thing is they keep arguing over HOW they're going to boss us around and over what.

Well, Zach, I believe this quote is for you:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Why single this out? Don't fat people, and the numerous health issues that go along with being fat cost all of us. Doesn't my insurance rate go up when some body drinks himself out of a liver?

Absolutely right. There's no reason smoking should be the only habit we tax to pay for the later health consequences. One might argue that smoking is more damaging to one's health than other vices, but ultimately it's the same thing.
posted by daveadams at 11:29 AM on July 5, 2000

"Everybody whining about their precious lungs"

Jesus Christ. You have a real problem, don't you? You know, maybe if my lungs weren't essential organs whose well-being determines my overall health, and if without them working properly I wouldn't get ill and die, then maybe, just maybe, I might agree with you a little. But you know what? This isn't some petty new-age body-this health-that soybean future whiny hippie crap like you seem to think it is.

"Why on earth should you be able to control other peoples actions, anywhere you go, just because you do not like what they are doing."

It's not about liking or not liking. Take a step back and realize that, since you obviously haven't yet, even though it's been pointed out to you more than once. It's about a health hazard. It's about more poisons that I probably know exist being forced into my body by some addict who can't wait until they're at home before lighting up.

I'm not trying to control anyone's actions. I'm trying not to get lung cancer. If some people have to change what they're doing to ensure that people who don't want lung cancer don't have to get it, then too bad. Your rights end where someone else's rights begin.

Just don't forget this: The smokers are the ones making the initial choice here. So who should have to change? I can assure that I'll be damned if I have to leave a room because someone else wants to fill it with carcinogens.

"I get more nervous changing the toner in the copier than I do spending time with a smoker"

Unless you're changing a broken toner cartridge, and doing it with your're really mixed up there.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:46 AM on July 5, 2000

CrayDrygu: You are not nice like Dave, try and be more like him.
I already said my piece, and have nothing more to add. On the toner front tho-You should see the toner I have to change! People put it in the machine sloppy and there is dust everywhere. It behaves like water, and is so fine that if it gets in your lungs it never comes out! There are 4 colors of dust and it is a top loader. I never get away from the copier without having to wash my hands several times. Thanks for the tip about not using my mouth. It just might work.
posted by thirteen at 12:23 PM on July 5, 2000

"It's about more poisons that I probably know exist being forced into my body by some addict who can't wait until they're at home before lighting up."


Seriously. The vast majority of smokers will only smoke in the smoking section of a public establishment, inside their personal property (car, house, etc) or outside.

The only place you have a right to bitch about is outside, but unfortunately, the smokers have a right to do as they please outside also.

If you fart, you're sending a billion shit particles into my system. What's my resolution? I move. Learn how to be mobile.

If your car's acting up, and needs a tune-up, and I'm stuck behind you in a lane of traffic, I'm getting plenty of poison. What's my resolution? I move.

That's what's so amazing about the outdoors. There's a LOT of it.

Despite my vigor in defending my rights as a smoker, I refuse to make an excuse for people who smoke within areas specifically designated as smoke-free.

I respect your right not to breath my poisons, and personally don't light up where non-smokers are around, but I can only speak for myself.

Besides, I'm the one that paid for it, I want it all for myself.
posted by cCranium at 1:31 PM on July 5, 2000


Thanks for the reminder, but I saw what happened in Waco, and all those guys wanted to do was persue life liberty and the pursuit of happiness inside their own little complex.

I'll stick to whining and bitching thank you very much. The thought of storming Washington DC with heavy artillery gives me the hives.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:16 PM on July 6, 2000

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