Australia have brought in a law that cigarettes can only be sold in packets with graphic medical pictures of their consequences on the front. No more the red and white of Marlboro packs, or the shiny gold of the B&H.
Apparently people are campaigning for the same law to be brought in here.
I think it is a lot of nonsense.
Make cigarettes illegal by all means. They are dangerous, addictive, delicious, killing sticks of joy. And I miss them. But I won't smoke again because I made the choice not to. Well. I might start again when I am 90. As a reward for not being dead yet.
When I was smoking and hadn't reached the point of deciding to stop nothing would have persuaded me too. In the grip of addiction I got very defensive when told to stop, even by my own children. And I was fully aware of the health risks, as well as similar pictures already being a feature of tobacco packets in this country.
The knowledge of the health risks was not enough to make me quit. Until the day it was. When I discovered I was pregnant with my third I stopped smoking, and this time I have kept to it. I still miss it, but I will not allow myself to go back to it.
It is a decision I have made for myself, not based on images or government programmes. I think most people who successfully stop do it because they have had a personal epiphany of some kind. It may be personal ill health, a person in their lives having cancer, or like me they may just realise that they want to live long enough to see their grandchildren more than they want to smoke.
I doubt there is smoker out there naive to its dangers, so I doubt the change of packaging will change their habits. It may of course improve sales of cigarette boxes to decant them into!
If the government and wider society is so concerned about the effect it has then why not just introduce an outright ban? They say the packaging will put off young people, but not being able to purchase them in a straight forward fashion is surely going to put off more of them!
I just don't get it. Either leave people to enjoy their LEGAL activity in peace, or ban it completely. Don't ostracise people for partaking in a perfectly legitimate activity. Nothing made me reach for the rizlas more quickly than a sanctimonious never smoker telling me what to do.
I do wish everyone stopped, but I don't know this is an approach that will make a lot of difference. What do you think?