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!”