So Health Canada has unveiled new warning labels that are going on all tobacco products in Canada. They have to cover 75% of the package. They’re pretty graphic. More graphic than in the past. Take a look:
Now here’s my thing: Does this really make an impact on the consumption of tobacco products? I smoked for close to 17 years. Close to a pack a day. The warning labels, the labeling PERIOD on a pack of smokes made zero impact on whether I smoked or not. My decision to quit came after seeing how it negatively impacted my loved ones, my health, my pocketbook, the smell and the horrible social stigma I faced. If you don’t know that smoking can kill you or severely alter your health then you are either 5 years old or have been living under a rock for the past 20 years.
I’ve always felt that a few new tactics might be in order. For starters, why run labels detailing all the money smokers waste in a year. What’s a pack these days? 12 bucks? Half a pack a day, 6 bucks X 365 = 2190 dollars. How about a label that shows someone outside freezing their ass off sucking on a dart and the copy says “2200 dollars could buy you 2 weeks worth at a sunny destination”?
I could go on. What I’m saying is, from day one, people are pretty aware of how bad smoking is. It doesn’t stop them. What does cause people to kick the habit is their pocketbook and the second class citizen aspect. If Health Canada were truly serious about getting people to kick the habit, why not make it easier for people to get medications like Zyban or Champeix (which worked like gangbusters for me) without having to go through the hassle of a doctor? Why not make it more affordable for people who don’t have drug coverage at work? If the Feds are really, truly committed to getting Canadians to quit, then why not promote municipalities to enforce already existing smoking bylaws? It just seems to me that warning labels are really just government advertisements telling us that they’re trying to do something about the leading cause of cancer in Canada. Maybe those resources could be used differently.
Just a thought.