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Why Does The Government Keep Promoting Cigarette Smoking?

Topics: Health & Wellness | 3 CommentsBy admin | October 15, 2010

Thanks to the restrictions imposed by recent legislation, Pall Malls have never looked more appealing.

How well do you think these would sell?

I must confess to having what you may consider a filthy, disgusting habit. No, not that one. I smoke. I’m not especially proud of it, and I may actually quit some day, but with no thanks to the US Government. If you don’t smoke, you may not have even noticed the results of the legislation recently enacted that restricts cigarette makers’ labeling of their packaging. So what were the results? Mostly the packages are just lighter shades or more colorful and appealing. In essence, the regulations just drove the tobacco companies to spiff up and contemporize their brands, while giving them incomprehensible amounts of free press. Aside from the fact that it has been recognized for some time that smokers engage in a high degree of cognitive dissonance it is now often argued that warnings can actually encourage people to keep smoking by stimulating their coping skills for dealing with the negative messaging. And it has also been suggested by marketers like Martin Lindstrom (in his book Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy ) that anti-smoking messages even go so far as to make a smoker want to smoke. The fundamental problem with the strategy of trying to convince smokers to change their behavior through packaging is that if you allow any package design at all, the manufacturer will win. As we said, the restrictions just drive brand innovation, and for an already addicted smoker, the creepy warnings used all over the world just become a sort of social object. My suggestion? Make all the packages white, with the requirement that all product names are randomly generated characters. No emotional connection to color, no evocative words or images that can operate as “hooks” of any kind. If you know any smokers and how addicted they are to their brand’s overall “feel”, I feel confident you’d see a measurable downturn in sales growth. Honestly, all this talk about cigarettes has made me want one. Care to join me? Maybe we could try one of those new Pall Malls.

Pall Malls have never looked more appealing:

The problem with conceptual anti-cigarette packaging like this…

…is that you can find the real thing on eBay:

Read Comments

  1. Posted by You Look Hot With A Fag In Your Mouth at dissociatedpress.com on 11.11.10 12:51 am

    [...] took a look recently at how the government gets it all wrong with anti-smoking campaigns by creating legislation that actually drives innovation in tobacco packaging. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised – since our government is pretty [...]

  2. Posted by Should Drunk Driving Ads Be Funny? | dissociatedpress.com on 12.30.10 10:20 pm

    [...] will somehow stop people from drinking and driving. In my opinion, it won’t. We’ve pointed out before that studies have determined that telling people to stop smoking won’t work, and may even [...]

  3. Posted by Donovan on 02.01.12 11:14 pm

    How is the government promoting cigarettes, at all? I must be missing something here? Packaging/marketing occurs in every facet of life. Do you have objections to alcohol packaging, as well? Fattening food? Pop/soda? The list goes on and on. And, isn’t heart disease the number one killer? Seems some priorities are still mixed up…