Posted on June 21, 2012
This entry was posted in Positioning- Sholder Girdle.
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Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.
Anne, we will investigate!
Once upon a time I collected baseball cards and still have stashed in a closet cartons of entire Fleer sets from the ’80s.
Now I’m assembling the full complement of graphic anti-smoking warnings on cigarettes introduced in Canada on Tuesday, and should have the whole set of 18 within, oh, about a week. The included info cards aren’t very interesting but the gruesome images that by law must cover 75 per cent of pack space are way cool.
Hey kids: Collect and trade ’em!
My first corner store purchase on Thursday was disappointing. I thought the picture depicted a couple of gay guys embracing, which was sweet. Closer inspection suggested this was actually a hospital orderly helping an infirm young man wearing T-shirt use the urinal. (“A single stroke can leave you helpless. Cigarettes are a major cause of stroke.’’)
But I look forward to acquiring the more grisly offerings: lumpy white spores on a cancerous tongue, little boy with an oxygen mask over his face (dangers of exposure to smoking parents), empty baby crib (sudden infant death syndrome), mottled gourd of a heart in a palm, blood in the toilet bowl, coroner pulling a sheet over a corpse, grimace of tombstone teeth, and various unfetching portraits of lung-cancer victim Barb Tarbox, deceased, continuing her anti-smoking campaign from the grave.
Cancer porn as social engineering, smokers the Pavlov dogs, I like it.
Maybe the government will next slap anti-obesity effigies on chocolate bars and mutilated car crash victims on cases of 2-4.
Not that this strategy is new or as radically intervening as Canadian health authorities would have you think. In Germany, during the ’30s, posters showed smokers’ heads being crushed under a jackbooted heel. This was part of an anti-tobacco initiative promoted by Adolf Hitler, who hated smokers as much as he hated Jews, Communists, gypsies and homosexuals.
He was happy to serve as role model for the non-smoker. A 1937 cover of Auf der Wacht featured his face in pensive mood and the caption: “Our Fuhrer Adolf Hitler drinks no alcohol and does not smoke.’’ As per Hitler’s wishes, scientists and health officials mounted an increasingly vigorous persecution against smokers. German cigarette manufacturers attempted to fight back under cloak of collaboration, offering coupons with their products that could be exchanged for a Hitler coffee table book.
By the end of the decade, the anti-tobacco program was extended to include bans on smoking in public places and on transportation systems. An absolute smoking ban was imposed on pregnant women and members of the Luftwaffe.
So, Hitler is the patron saint of today’s nico-Nazis. (The campaign was a bust. Smoking in Germany increased between 1932 and 1939 from 570 cigarettes per capita to 900 and the country became the world’s leading importer of cigarettes.)
It’s claimed that once you mention Hitler you’ve lost the argument. But in this case, it’s irresistible. In any event, the argument and the battle were long ago. And still people keep smoking. You’ve got to admire such defiance. Some just won’t bend to anybody’s will, and most assuredly not to government zealotry.
In Canada, any push-back has been quashed. Unlike, say, the U.S. District Court judge in Virginia who recently ruled against similar package labelling in Virginia — a tobacco-infused state, economically — on the grounds that it violated free speech amendments to the Constitution. The judge opined that cigarette manufacturers would likely succeed in a lawsuit already making its way through courts of appeal in other jurisdictions. In his decision, the judge wrote: “While the line between the constitutionally permissible dissemination of factual information and the impermissible expropriation of a company’s advertising space for government advocacy can be frustratingly blurry, here the line seems quite clear.’’
Government advocacy can’t trump precious freedom of expression rights. The judge added that discouraging smoking, especially among young people, could be achieved by reducing access to tobacco products, extending public health information campaigns and increasing taxes on cigarettes.
But Canadians are a more docile lot than Americans, readier to accept infringements on individual and collective rights. We don’t have the same passion for freedoms.
Authorities here cite statistics that indicate the delightfully grotesque cigarette warnings — which covered 50 per cent of a pack when first introduced in 2000 — have achieved their desired intent, though a decrease in smoking can’t be attributed to the macabre imagery. A confluence of initiatives is responsible. Mostly it’s simply become too much of a hassle to light up, badgered and shunned as smokers have become. The bylaws are over-reaching and often misunderstood.
The 9-metre rule, for example, is widely misapplied. It’s almost impossible to find a building in Toronto that doesn’t have this proscription posted outside, forbidding smoking near entrances and an ever-expanding no-blow zone. In fact, the bylaw — encompassed also in the province’s Smoke-Free Ontario Act — relates only to hospitals, medical buildings and long-term health facilities. Privately owned buildings can put up signs if they like, covering their own property, but the ban doesn’t extend to sidewalk space and bylaw enforcers can’t issue citations nor do security staff have the authority compelling a smoker to butt out.
Know your rights.
I’m all for discouraging young people from smoking, never taking up the habit. The other day I saw a boy, couldn’t have been older than 12 or 13, smoking at a bus stop alongside his mom. I wanted to slap her upside the head. But even Madonna has admitted she can’t get teenage daughter Lourdes to refrain from smoking. Adolescents are not so susceptible to brow-beating or shaming and are clearly more inclined to do precisely what they’re told to avoid. Acquiescence is the purview of adulthood.
Guess I’ve never grown up.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
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