Steve Allen: 'My reasons warnings on individual cigarettes is pointless"
Steve Allen, comedian
- Credit: PA Images
I have never been a smoker. I may have tried it a few times at university but I didn’t keep doing it, much like watching subtitled films and eating Pot Noodle.
I am normally in favour of any plan to stop people smoking but Tory Lord George Young wants to introduce a private members bill to put health warnings on every cigarette, not just the packets.
Allow me to go through the reasons I think this is pointless.
Everyone already knows that smoking is bad for you. No one is going to read the side of their cigarette and shout: “Why didn’t someone mention this?”
If someone has read that smoking kills on the packet, I don’t think they will have forgotten by the time they light up.
Maybe I am getting old but I wouldn’t be able to read the writing on anything sticking out of my mouth. Good luck trying to get smokers to always wear their reading glasses.
People will get used to any warnings. I was queuing behind a woman in a petrol garage last week. When she was handed her cigarettes, she looked at them and said to the cashier: “Oh, that’s a nice picture on this one.”
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I don’t know if she had the lungs, the liver or the toe picture, but it didn’t phase her.
The act of burning the warning written on the side of the cigarette will become symbolic and may make smokers more resolved to carry on.
We’d be better off making one in every 1,000 cigarettes an exploding joke cigarette like you’d see in Tom and Jerry cartoons. Or print tweets by Ollie Robinson on the side of cigarettes. No one would want to be seen with those if they wanted to keep their job.