29 January 2012

If "Smoking Kills" why are you still collecting its tax revenue?

Those of you who know me will probably know how much I hate tobacco.

You might also know (if you've been unlucky enough to get stuck with me across a coffee table where there are cigarette packets) that I can't stand the "health warnings" that come with the bundles of cigarettes.

My argument has always been that, if they kill, why are you selling them? Or, governments, if you impose these warnings on tobacco companies, why don't you just ban the things?

I won't go into the possible answers to my last questions (I leave this up to you should you want to comment). My point is a much more serious one.

These labels not only remind us of the hypocrisy that rules the world but can also in fact, be doing much more harm than good. In a study carried out by a syndicate of anti-smoking organisations, involving neuro-imaging, phrases such as "smoking kills" were seen to do nothing to reduce nicotine craving. Not just that. Those smokers who felt some sort of guilt when reading the warnings, saw activity in their nicotine-craving regions increase.

So what's the point of these warnings?

To remind those of us who hate the smoke coming out of other people's nostrils that we are in the presence of poisonous substances? Or to spoil the joy of those who are addicted to their source?

I don't get it. Do you?

If you would like to read more on neuro-imaging and its use in marketing, visit the RSA website and look for the article "Brain Sells". Or just click here. 

2 comments:

  1. Esa es una pregunta que me he hecho más de una vez. Pero termina primando el interés económico sobre el sanitario, como en muchas otras cosas que deberían ser cuidadosamente abordadas (consumo de alcohol, tráfico de drogas, etc.). Lamentablemente, y por más que las cifras del Gobierno sean alentadoras en cuanto a lo efectivas de sus políticas de subidas de precio (impuestos) al tabaco en relación con el consumo, creo que la bajada también se explica por una razón más de andar por casa: actualmente en España hay mucha gente que ha dejado de fumar como medida de ahorro más que por salud.

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  2. Gracias Tomás,
    El aspecto económico me lo había dejado fuera completamente!

    The comment above is well worth translating, so here it goes:

    "That's a question I've asked myself more than once. But what ends up as a priority is the economic interest over health, as in many other things that should be considered carefully (alcohol consumption, drug trafficking, etc.) Unfortunately and even though the Government's numbers are encouraging with respect to their price raising policies (taxes), regarding tobacco in relation to its price: nothing. I think that the decrease in tobacco consumption is explained by an much simpler reason: at the moment, many people in Spain have quit smoking more as an economic than a health matter.

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