Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Nice Work, Australia

Warning Label
I'm a smoker. Not proud of it. Not ashamed of it, either. I just am. Like people are L.A.R.P.ers or listen to Katy Perry or love the Cowboys. 

Just like those people I'd really like to quit. Smoking. I have tried to quit a time or six. Usually my smoking is replaced with something--I exercise more, or try to write something each time I get the urge to light up, or I picture someone from Arkansas. So far nothing has worked. But this might. It's called "plain-packaging," and it's a graphic warning of tobacco's long-term effects. Turns out when Australians aren't using other Australians to chum the water for great white sharks, they're passing cool legislation. Who knew? 

Granted, I wasn't turned on to cigarettes because of any label or magazine ad or television commercial or movie star. Nope. I was at the bottom of a Wild Irish Rose bottle in high school and thought, "nothing can be worse than this." Of course I was wrong. But I liked the taste of a cigarette, the ritual of it. At no time did I see a pack of cigarettes and say, "those look harmless" or "what gorgeous packaging!" 

Don't think I mean to defend Big Tobacco. Tobacco companies and their supporters are full of shit. "It'll mean more non-plain packaged smokes on the black market," they say, "more children will be smoking!" Horsedicks. If they could drop a CAMEL down every pregnant woman's throat just to get that fetal demographic they'd do it. I'd be much happier if cigarettes just didn't exist. Same goes for cockroaches, Tim Burton, country clubs, Miller 64, True Blood, and the Dallas Cowboys. 
Another badass Australian thing.

Do I want to see a suffering infant on my pack of Ultra Lights? Of course not. I don't want to see a car crinkled to an unrecognizable heap on my bourbon label either. But them's the facts, right? That's why I think this kind of legislation would work. FOR EVERYTHING. 

1. NFL---Instead of the shield, lay the letters on a backdrop of brain scans revealing multiple concussions.

2. Junk food---Don't give me a smooth talking cheetah in sunglasses. How about 80's Roseanne Barr?

3. Ralph Lauren---Mitt Romney*

4. Gun shops---Just a digital sign with an up to the minute death tally. 

5. Australian flag---Dude jumping into a shark's mouth.

Not that all of these would work. I would still watch NFL football. And truth be told, you'd have a better chance getting me to quit if you cover a pack of cigarettes in an Auburn University logo. Don't worry about Australia. There isn't enough money on the planet to get me there. 

"In a report last year, the CDC found in a 14-nation study that graphic health warnings on cigarette packages have led a 'substantial' number of smokers to consider quitting."

Good enough for me, world! Imagine what we could do with guns, or vodka, or Tony Romo

* I realize Ralph Lauren isn't technically bad for you. But c'mon.

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