France faces up to campaigns that disgust smokers
Smoking turns your teeth into stumps and makes you impotent: that's the message increasing numbers of smokers are facing when they reach for a fag, and the illustrations are getting increasingly gruesome. Last week, it was the French government's turn to adopt the measure of printing graphic images on cigarette packets. Not something that Parisian tobacconists quite understand... Read more and see the campaigns.
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Smoking turns your teeth into stumps and makes you impotent: that's the message increasing numbers of smokers are facing when they reach for a fag, and the illustrations are getting increasingly gruesome. Last week, it was the French government's turn to adopt the measure of printing graphic images on cigarette packets. Not something that Parisian tobacconists quite understand...
WARNING, THE IMAGES BELOW MIGHT BE FOUND DISTURBING.
Canada was the first to produce this kind of campaign in 2001. One year later, a study showed that the measure paid off - 44% of smokers said that the new ads encouraged them to give up. Brazil, Singapore, Australia and more recently Belgium and the UK have since followed suit. And last week, French health minister Roselyne Bachelot put forward a plan to decorate French cigarette packets with "entirely explicit, not to say very hard hitting" images. A Parisian tobacconist explains why, according to him, the new measure "takes smokers for imbeciles", and won't work anyway.
Around the world in shocking picturesThailand
The images made an appearance in Thailand over two years ago.
Posted on Flickr by "Julipan".
Posted by Janny.
In Singapore the measure was introduced in 2004.
Photo posted on Flickr by "Newflower".
Posted on Flickr by "olliethebastard".
Posted on Flickr by Meredith.
Posted on Flickr by Anna Duncan.
Posted on Flickr by Gregory Parks.
Posted on Flickr by Ireen Chen.
"This takes smokers for imbeciles"
Jean-Pierre Lebrave is a tobacconist from the 11th arrondissement, east Paris. He's director of the Tobacconists' Confederation in France.
I think this takes smokers for imbeciles. In the countries where they have this type of campaign, tobacco is freely sold. That means in the supermarkets, in the corner shop... which isn't the case in France, where you can only sell tobacco in a tobacconist. As soon as they walk into our shop the customer knows that he's there to buy tobacco! And plus, we've already got the written warnings - we're conscious of the risks. Smokers tell me "yes yes we know smoking's bad for us. Can't MPs find something else to do?"
I doubt this is going to work anyway. People don't notice the warnings on packets anymore - the famous "Fumer tue" (smoking kills) for example. Repetition kills the message. It'd be more worthwhile to target young people, something closer to them. It's a question of educating people. There are things to be done there. Putting an ad in the paper is useless. I also think it will be difficult to implement by the end of the year. The makers know that there's a lot of stock and it needs a lot of preparation.
Since they banned smoking in indoor public places a year ago, my tobacco sales went down 5%. That's not huge, but I did lose 25% of customers in the bar! The two are linked - the people who used to come in to have a coffee and smoke a cigarette don't come at all anymore. We've been under attack for a year now."