Monday, July 14, 2008

A non-warning warning

On my walk the other day I found more evidence that the tobacco industry is writing copy on the “warning” labels on cigarette packets.

The “warning” on a pack of Marlboro Lights is even more deceptive than the one on the Camels pack I reported on the other day ("Warning: dangerous Camels").

the Marlboro label is also printed on a gold mesh background that makes its black letters nearly illegible.)

Here’s the Marlboro “warning”:

“SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING Quitting Smoking Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.”

So what is the “warning”? You don’t warn someone to do something, in this case, "quit." You warn them NOT to do something. Is the smoker being “warned” NOT to quit.

Well, not exactly.

Once you decipher the sentence and realize it isn’t a warning at all but a statement, you are off into the vagaries of reducing risks. Hey, smokers know that smoking has risks. They pride themselves on risk taking. They figure they will beat the odds, or simply don’t want to think about them.

Risk isn’t the problem. As I suggested in the earlier post, show them the consequences (rotted teeth, a cancerous lung) as they do in Canada, Britain, Italy and the countries whose politicians aren’t bought off by the tobacco industry.

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