Cigarette Pack Shouting Matches

H/T Magnetic, I thought this was a joke when I first read it:

Talking cigarette packs are here. Will they make smokers butt out?

Are smokers more likely to quit if their own pack of cigarettes tells them to?

That’s the belief of researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland who have come up with cigarette packages that play a recorded message each time they’re opened. The message warns smokers about fertility risks and gives a help-line phone number for further information on quitting.

The invention connects directly to the Scottish government’s efforts to help people stop smoking. Scottish Publish Health Minister Michael Matheson recently set a target to reduce the number of smokers in Scotland from 23 per cent to 5 per cent by 2034.

Funding for the talking cigarette box came from Cancer Research U.K., which supported the Stirling study “to see if the marketing tools of the tobacco industry can be used to help smokers quit instead,” according to spokesperson Alison Cox.

It’s a strange thing about Tobacco Control, that they seem to think that if people are told something enough times, they’ll come to believe it.

And perhaps they’ve got good reason to think this, given that the only reason that most people believe that smoking causes lung cancer, etc, etc, is that they’ve been repeatedly told so over the past 50 years, and the message has sunk in. They’ve been conditioned.

But maybe it’ll work on me yet. Perhaps I just haven’t reached the tipping point where the conditioning finally takes a grip. Maybe one day I’ll write in my blog something like, “You know, folks, I woke up this morning and I realise that smoking causes lung cancer, and I can’t deny it any longer, and I’m going to phone one of those quit lines …after I finish my cigarette.”

And here’s the really weird part about the talking cigarette packs: Smokers are listening.

The prerecorded messages are said to have worked well during tests conducted on a group of women aged 16 to 34. The university will now expand the study with tests on larger groups of males and females aged 16 and over.

I suppose it’s not surprising that people listen to talking cigarette packets. They’re a bit of a novelty. I’ve never come across one. Is it one of the marketing tools of the tobacco industry?

You know what they’ll do, don’t you, when this doesn’t work either? It’s the entirely predictable application of the same failed approach: the cigarette packs won’t just start talking when they’re opened: they’ll never stop talking. They’ll just keep burbling away endlessly about cancer and heart disease and infertility and chiiiildren.

You’ll be able to tell who the smokers are on the bus or train, because there’ll be little tinny voices coming out of their jacket pockets.

Maybe when illegal tobacco packs show up, they’ll also start talking when they’re opened, but saying something different – like “Shut the fuck up, you little bastard!” And then tobacco packs could have shouting matches with each other:

“Smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease and varicose veins! Phone 0172…”

“Shut the fuck up, you little bastard!”


About Frank Davis

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35 Responses to Cigarette Pack Shouting Matches

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    “ … see if the marketing tools of the tobacco industry can be used to help smokers quit instead”

    Well, that’s a new one on me, even as one of those people targeted by the tobacco companies (apparently). I don’t think I’ve ever had a cigarette packet whisper enticingly when I’ve opened it up: “Go one – light up. Have one. You know you want to …”

    But what I’d really like is one which, like those cards you used to be able to buy, played “happy birthday to you” on my birthday or “jinglebells” at Christmas!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      How about a lcd screen on the front of the packs that automatically run medico porn for the kiddies talk about frankensteinish.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Or maybe BT will use the idea to run smoking commercials directly to smokers I mean if the Nazis can do it so can the Tobacco companies.

  2. Jude says:

    I can see the popularity of stylish and silent cigarette cases becoming even more popular. My local jeweler will be very happy, he’s seen the sale of cigarette cases triple since the “propaganda packaging” came in. Now they want to have noise pollution in every pack, I can see how people will very quickly turn to alternatives.

    lol, every time I think that the ANTZ cannot get more ridiculous or bizarre, they come up with another silly idea.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Economist: Government Preparing to Seize 401(k) Pensions

    Supreme Court ruling sets the stage for “economic totalitarianism

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Talking cigarette packs for propaganda! How Orwellian! At least in 1984 you could still smoke in Airstrip One… Time to counter this nonsense!

  5. mikef317 says:

    Off topic. Unfortunately only about climate “science.” It’s also a good description of Tobacco Control.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Political based outcome made to order science for the agendas………..been like that for 6 decades easily.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Why do they never join up the dots.

      If you believe your ideology is true, but look out upon the world and see that large numbers of people don’t embrace it, it can be frustrating. You have a list of issues you think must be urgently addressed by society, yet society is not addressing them, perhaps doesn’t even see them as problems to begin with. This can create a lot of dissonance – why don’t people see what we see or think as we think? One way to resolve that dissonance is to assume that there must be something wrong those people, that there must be “causes” behind their positions other than simple disagreement, much less any wisdom on their part. So the next step is to inventory the uncharitable reasons why people don’t embrace your ideology, the ideology you just know is true and noble.

      Environmentalism is a rather new political ideology, and possibly a religion or a substitute for traditional religion, and it’s alarming that social psychologists are promoting it and trying to convert people to it. Embracing new, abstract, and somewhat ambiguous values like “nature” and “the environment” is just assumed to be equivalent to rationality or something. Environmentalist values are contested by scholars all over the place (though not so vigorously within academia), but the field seems unaware of this, and unaware of their status as values, as ideological tenets, as opposed to descriptive beliefs about the world.

      What’s more, we often see researchers declare outright that their motivation is to advance their ideology, to spark political action, and so forth. I think it’s impossible to argue that the field is not biased when researchers declare themselves to be political activists and that their research is an outlet for said activism.

      These considerations apply just as much to antismoking “research”. But nobody (except round here) ever points it out.

  6. Imagine what the TCompanies could have done with them 20 years ago. Heh, I can see it being REALLY annoying though when you’re sitting in a restaurant and keep hearing the “You can take Salem out of the Country, but…” jingle notes on one side contrapositing with the Marlboro theme on the other every time a pack was opened!

    Dunno if these will show up here, (or if anyone actually wants to LOOK at them… I’m hoping only the links and not the pics show up for those with delicate dispositions) but I’ve long argued that fair is fair, level playing field and all that: the drinks industry should be shuttled in right away as well: we all know they’re going to be on the same battle-line ten years from now, even if THEY don’t know.

    In that spirit, here are some images that could cover 75% of beer bottles and cans:

    There was one in particular that I’ve seen but was unable to find, where some EMS workers had just pulled the top half of a guy out of a wreck, and his entrails were all roping back in to where the rest of him was still in the car.

    – MJM

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Truly mike make an MP3 player out of the packs…………upload old tobacco commercials and make all the Nazis listen to them

    • Barry Homan says:

      “Winston tastes GOOOOOOD like a cigarette should!”

      “Not too smooth – not too light – Viceroy’s got the taste that’s right!”
      “Happiness is the taste of Kent – that’s what happiness is!”

      “Us Tareyton smokers would rather FIGHT…than switch”

  7. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    And just how long do the fASHites think it will be before someone will find a way to hack the speech chips? Everything that man can program can be reprogrammed…often with hilarious results…

    Orgasming (LOUDLY) ciggy pack, anyone? Oh yes…oh Yes…OH OH Y E S!

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      I thought about that too especially if its an RFI chip

      • The Blocked Dwarf says:

        Imagine the scene: Some hacker hacks the RFIs so the packets SHOUT out at their full volume “Hey Fat Girl, smoking will make you thin” or “Want to get laid Son? Then smoke!” . The staff at the supermarket would not be allowed to open the blast doors to locate the offending packs and the shop would have no choice but to close, for the sake of cheeldren, until all the batteries had run down.

    • LOLOL!!! Absolutely beautiful! I can see the fun the late night talk shows would have with that: they’d ALL be lighting up! Heh, talk about “unintended consequences”!

  8. waltc says:

    “the cigarette packs won’t just start talking when they’re opened: they’ll never stop talking. They’ll just keep burbling away endlessly…” GOD, that made me laugh. But of course Jude is right — it’s the sidewalk trash bins outside of tobacco shops that will be burbling away. Are these people really so stupid as to believe that smokers would use those packs? Or not figure out how to disable the voice box as easily as we disable the thumb-grating cog on their “childproof” lighters?

    Nor do they understand that endless repetition becomes, if anything, counterproductive. Years ago in Manhattan there was a ubiquitous chain clothes store that literally had store fronts on every other block. As though, when passing the first, second, third, fourth and fifth one you’d think to yourself, “Hmm. Nah, I don’t need a sweater,” but when you got to the sixth one you’d suddenly think “Hey! I really need a sweater!.” The chain, I believe , went bankrupt, or at least it’s long disappeared from New York.

  9. Rose says:

    The earliest reference I can find.

    Quit or die, says talking cigarette packet

    “IN A week in which the European Union decided to increase the size and horror factor of health warnings on cigarette packets, New Scientist can exclusively reveal a new twist: a talking cigarette packet that recites a health warning every time you open it. Ironically, the idea comes from a firm that supplies machinery to make cigarettes.

    The revelation comes from a patent (GB 2351061) filed by Molins in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. A stiff plastic strip connects the hinged lid of a cigarette packet to a microchip and a miniature loudspeaker hidden in the base. As the smoker opens the lid, the strip slides to close a switch and trigger playback of a small recording, which could be musical funeral march, perhaps or a health warning “in any or several languages”.

  10. anonymong says:

    Related to what Jude says have this people never heard of cigarette cases? Though I guess they’ll just ban them as well

    • Rose says:

      Because they seem to have the limited vison of children as far as cause and effect goes.
      So many unintended consequences.

    • Jude says:

      I don’t see how they could ban cigarette cases, they are after all just small boxes. I used to keep my tobacco in a little chocolate tin because I liked the design. Mind you if you didn’t want to put your smokes into another container, crushing the little chip that produces the noise pollution is pretty easily done anyway. This is just a way to add to production costs of tobacco companies, nothing to do with discouraging smoking. If anything, as it did in Australia when “propaganda packaging” came in, it will encourage teens to collect the various packs. Stupid ANTZ, making up stupid ideas, that get taken up by stupid politicians. A sealed circle of stupid, spinning endlessly like some repugnant perpetual motion machine.

      • Rose says:

        Stupid ANTZ, making up stupid ideas, that get taken up by stupid politicians. A sealed circle of stupid, spinning endlessly like some repugnant perpetual motion machine

        A perfect description.

    • Speaking of cigarette cases: you might want to check out

      The cases are plastic, which might make you think they’re not going to last, but I’ve had one (Heh, glossy white with my “Brainy” character front ‘n center beneath the nice big “brand” of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”!) that I’ve used for well over a year at this point and it’s still as good as the day I took it out of its package. It’s had at least a dozen or more floor drops and survived them all without a dent or a crack (the flip-top lid tends to pop off in a fall sometimes, but I think that might actually be deliberate… sort of a shock-absorbing safety?… In any event it easily goes right back in place.) For anyone who still has a place to go sit down with friends and strangers while smoking, it’s a great conversation starter if you’ve used or picked an image that clearly stands out as not being from a “normal” cigarette pack and you just leave it out on the bar or table next to you!


    • jaxthefirst says:

      Nah. Like Jude, I use a leather glasses-case for mine – it’s just the right size and even has a little pocket at the front (for the glasses-cloth, I guess) that the lighters fit into. Even better, I’ve just nabbed by OH’s old leather camera-case for when my existing case wears out, and that’s even better – it holds two full packs of cigs (I’ve tried it for size), and has battery-pockets which easily hold two disposable lighters.

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Patients ‘ignore’ Bristol Southmead Hospital smoking ban

    BBC News

    “Patients and visitors at a Bristol hospital are routinely ignoring a site-wide smoking ban, its chief executive has said.

    Andrea Young said there was a “particular problem” around Southmead Hospital’s main entrance, despite staff challenging smokers.

    About half put out their cigarettes when challenged, she said, but others responded in a “less positive” way.

    A task force is assessing if an off-site smoking shelter can be provided.

    Southmead Hospital in north Bristol is a designated smoke-free site, but one woman, whose husband receives regular oxygen treatment for a chronic lung condition, told BBC Radio Bristol she had to wave away clouds of smoke when they attend his regular appointments.

    Ms Young, chief executive of North Bristol NHS Trust, told said it was often difficult for staff to challenge patients or visitors who may already be under a lot of stress.

    “We have just re-established our task force to look at smoking because we need to revisit the decision about whether we should have a smoking space for patients and their families,” she said.

    “Because of the nature of the things we do in our hospital, some of the trauma cases, for some people, it seems to be very very difficult for them not to have a cigarette.

    “What we are doing is reviewing whether we should have a smoking shelter somewhere off the site.”

    • Rose says:

      Because of the nature of the things we do in our hospital, some of the trauma cases, for some people, it seems to be very very difficult for them not to have a cigarette

      MAOI Antidepressants

      “Monoamine-oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants are a group of medicines that are used to treat depression.”

      FCTC/COP/5/9 Annex 3 page 12

      “Researchers have found a marked decrease in the levels of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the brains and peripheral organs of smokers . MAO is an important enzyme responsible for breaking down dopamine.
      The decrease in MAO results in higher dopamine levels and may be another reason that
      smokers continue to smoke,”

      It has been suggested that this change is likely to be caused by a substance in tobacco smoke other than nicotine.

      Certain tobacco constituents are reported to be MAO inhibitors, such as 2,3,6-trimethyl-1-4-naphthoquinone …”

      It seems to take a considerable amount of time and effort for scientists to find out what the average smoker instinctively knows.

      • Joe L. says:

        Why is it that so much “scientific” research is wasted on the subject of smoking? Do you think even half as much time, effort or money is spent trying to answer more important and socially-impactful questions like, “why do serial killers continue to kill?” or “why do child molesters continue to molest children?” I highly doubt it.

  13. marieengling says:

    This will make it really attractive for children ;)

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