Health Warnings

Dick Puddlecote:

Plain Packaging For E-Cigs, WHO Didn’t See That Coming?

I wonder what pictures they’ll use in the health warnings? Maybe the same ones that they use on cigarette packets? They’re all fabrications anyway.

I wonder if they’ll have “Vaping Causes Fatal Lung Cancer” written on them as well, even if there’s no evidence for it. There’s no evidence that smoking does either.

I’m a bit puzzled by the health warnings on tobacco products. They started out quite small, and they just get bigger and bigger. As if you hadn’t heard the first time, so they have to say it again, louder. And then louder again. As if people were a bit thick.

Do they really think that smokers will finally get the message one day, if they could only make the warnings big enough and shouty enough?

I dunno about anyone else, but I find that when something is written in capital letters, I don’t pay more attention to it: I pay less attention.

Or maybe the idea is that if you see images of death and disease enough times on tobacco packages, you’ll gradually start associating tobacco with death and disease. Somehow or other, that doesn’t seem to be happening with me.

But anyway, I don’t look at the warnings. I transfer my tobacco from the manufacturer’s packet to a tin. There are tins made for this very purpose. And they carry no health warnings at all. My current one has got a picture of a Mad Hatter on a chess board.

Maybe they’ll start demanding that tins carry health warnings. Well, then I’d just move to some other container. I’ve got a couple of wallets that can hold tobacco.

Maybe they’ll start plastering warnings all over everything. If you buy a half pound of butter, it’ll have a health message on it, saying Butter Kills, and a picture of a 5-year-old boy choking on a half pound of butter wedged into his mouth.

Same with all other products. Chicken Kills. Custard Kills. Salami Kills. Sugar Kills. Salt Kills.

Or generic all-purpose health warnings. Stuff Kills. Everything Kills. Whatever You’ve Just Bought Is Killing You Very, Very Slowly.

Maybe you’d only start getting worried if the product doesn’t carry a health warning of some sort. And you’d take it back to the shop, and say, “Hey, did you notice that your Fair Trade orange’n’peppermint chocolate hasn’t got a health warning on it? What’s the matter with it? Have you got one with a proper health warning on it? You know, the one with the tombstone and the bats and the clawing hands reaching up out of the ground, and ‘Chocolate Turns People Into Zombies’ written underneath in big gothic letters.  Yeah, that’s the one. Thanks.”

But I ignore all health warnings anyway. Not just the ones about tobacco, but all the health warnings about everything. In fact, a few years ago I started using lard for frying, and started buying fatty foods like lamb chops, just because it looked suitably unhealthy. But now they’re saying that lard is a miracle food, and people should eat more fat. What a bummer. Maybe I should go back to lean ham fried in sunflower oil?

About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to Health Warnings

  1. Joe L. says:

    Surprisingly, here in the States, we still haven’t adopted the half-pack grotesque stock-photo ‘warnings’ I’ve seen in the U.K., even though many cities have installed far more draconian outdoor smoking bans. However, the verbiage of the warnings on cigarette packs has increasingly become more definitive over the past decade or so. We’ve gone from statements like “Smoking may cause birth defects” to “Smoking causes lung cancer.” It’s the ‘settled science’ and blatant disregard for the scientific method that makes me pay less (i.e., no) attention to the propaganda printed on the packs.

    • Frank Davis says:

      “Smoking causes lung cancer.”

      We go one better than that. It’s now “Smoking causes fatal lung cancer.” Which I can only suppose means that there are non-fatal varieties of lung cancer.

      Which reminds me that I’ve been toying with the idea that you get lung cancer with the very first cigarette you smoke, and it slowly gets worse for the next 50 or 60 or 70 years. Then I could say that I’ve had a very mild case of lung cancer for the past 50 years, with no problems at all.

      The terror of cancer is that nobody really understands what it is. If they did, they’d have a cure for it. So it’s surrounded by fear and mystery, just like other diseases in the past, before they were found to be caused by bacteria or viruses. And that’s why it’s easily seen – like those diseases – as punishment from God for sin, and in particular the awful and terrible sin of smoking cigarettes (or smoking anything at all).

      For a century or so, medicine succeeded in dispelling this religious explanation of disease as punishment from God, replacing it with a bacterial-viral explanation which relieved people of blame, but now the fog is rolling back in, and the medical profession has become dominated once more by puritan moralists loading people with guilt and shame.

      • Supergran says:

        Oh Frank, I absolutely pissed myself laffin at this post. It’s really really cheered me up – in fact reading it at work, and people asking “what you laughing at” – cos it was laugh out loud. Keep up the good work Frank, if nowt else, it cheers up an otherwise boring day. Mwah x

  2. Smoking Lamp says:

    The warnings are spurious and need to be challenged.

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    Chantix has the Black Box Warning label which is the most dangerous label from the Food and Drug Administration. Despite this, physicians prescribed Chantix to the tune of $ 600 million last year. After
    multiple suicides from Chantix, Phizer stated that the victims were warned.
    Doctors chastise and harangue smokers about our pleasurable habit. They always mention the health warnings on cigarettes. When it is a prescription for Chantix, no problem. Hypocrites.

  4. nisakiman says:

    I dunno about anyone else, but I find that when something is written in capital letters, I don’t pay more attention to it: I pay less attention.

    I think that goes for most people, Frank. Have you ever noticed that if you come across a comment under an article where the poster has used caps lock, you just skip the comment? I never read that shouty stuff, and I never notice warning labels on fag packets.

    Like you, I transfer my tobacco to another container anyway – in my case, a rather nice leather tobacco pouch with a sleeve inside in which to put the papers, so they are inside the pouch, but not next to the tobacco (which tends to make them stick together a bit from the moisture of the tobacco). They can make the packs as dun or as lurid as they like – I won’t notice either way. The only thing about the whole affair that offends me is the way these monochrome people seek to uglify everything they can get their hands on. You couldn’t squeeze a drop of joy out of any of them, even if you put them in a ten ton press.

    • Rose says:

      I discovered last week that the whole point of uglifying cigarette packets, these days at least, is to stop you putting them on tables with your lighter, apparently we were promoting the brand.

      Personal tobacco pack display before and after the introduction of plain packaging with larger pictorial health warnings in Australia: an observational study of outdoor café strips.


      Following Australia’s 2012 policy of plain packaging and larger pictorial health warnings on cigarette and tobacco packs, smoking in outdoor areas of cafés, restaurants and bars and personal pack display (packs clearly visible on tables) declined.

      Further, a small proportion of smokers took steps to conceal packs that would otherwise be visible. Both are promising outcomes to minimize exposure to tobacco promotion.”

      Personal pack display? Incredible the warped way some people view ordinary things.So there you are , don’t flaunt your tobacco pouch or they will put a Hallowe’en sticker on it.

    • smokingscot says:

      They insisted on Fire Safe Cigarettes. Those, as we know, have very unpleasant side effects with some people complaining of all manner of reactions and ailments.

      There’s been no testing on FSC and in my opinion all those bands are far more damaging to one’s health than some machine that converts a liquid to steam.

      • Rose says:

        If the clear message behind FSC didn’t alert people that they were out to do us harm, I can’t think what would.

        The Alliance For Consumer Fire Safety in Europe
        Position Paper on Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) Cigarettes

        “The report also made it clear that in their tests it was not possible to set fire to furniture bought on the UK market with either cigarettes or matches, because by law it must resist ignition from both sources.”

        “In summary, cigarette-initiated fires would no doubt be reduced by the introduction of RIP cigarettes either by mandatory or voluntary means and this is to be welcomed.

        However, the contribution of RIP cigarettes to the reduction of European fire deaths and injuries in the home would be less significant in the context of the overall domestic fire safety problem because cigarettes are not the ignition source in most domestic killer fires today.”

        Click to access ACFSE%20Paper%20on%20RIP%20Cigarettes%2027%20Feb%202007.pdf

        European Union Pushes for Self-Extinguishing Cigarettes

        “It is questionable whether technology and legislation are needed to solve the problem.
        As smokers know, cigars, pipe tobacco and hand-rolled cigarettes tend to go out on their own.
        That’s because regular cigarettes contain burning agents to keep them lit.

        “The elimination of burning agents in cigarette paper would be a simple and effective means of dramatically reducing the ignition propensity of cigarettes,” wrote Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at the University Sydney, in a 2004 Australian medical journal.”

    • Bandit 1 says:

      “You couldn’t squeeze a drop of joy out of any of them, even if you put them in a ten ton press.”

      This claim should be put to the test, because Science.

  5. Andrew Edward Oakley says:

    Why smokers fell for the hype over plain packs is beyond me, it had nothing to with smoking but everything to do with “intellectual property rights” for tobacco companies.

    Simon Clark led the smoking lobby on a longwinded dead end , nothing to gain if he had won campaign because his bosses wanted it that way, it was the wasted years , so much could have been be fought for over smoking yet this non issue became everything.

    A disgrace in my opinion , the defeat for the campaign against plain packs means nothing to smokers , it never did, the outcome was always a non issue, they were never were going to be plain packs.

    • prog says:

      The opinion of 427,888 smokers and their supporters was ignored.

      • Andrew Edward Oakley says:

        The shame is that so many smokers thought this non issue actually meant something , 427,000 were ignored and now what?

        427,000 should have marched to parliment about the elderly in care homes not being able to smoke , instead they got all worked up about intellectual property rights/ advertising.

        You really couldn’t make it up, the biggest fight was over nothing of any interest to smokers.

        Dick Puddlecote just drags the nonsense on and on, its a non issue, plain stupid.

        • Of course it’s about smokers. As Rose points out above, the intention was clear, the whole point is to shame them, a metaphorical yellow star if they have the temerity to display their pack (Deborah Arnott stated this categorically on Sky News when interviewed about it at the time). An invitation for their friends/family to ask why they are ignoring the ‘expert’ opinions of government and TCI, are they stupid or something?

          It’s also worth a regular reminder of the huge amount of lying, gerrymandering and corruption from ‘public health’ that went on with that campaign and which is still going on.

        • Andrew Edward Oakley says:

          Its about big companies worrying about branding of their products, a legal issue that has nothing to do with smoking, the yellow star displaying of their packs is wishy washy at best.

          Removing a company logo and replacing it with the company name is exactly that. It was a no win no lose campaign at the start, and now its lost, it matters not one jot to smokers.

          What does matter to smokers is obvious and would be a better use for nearly half a million supporters than being a puppet for big tobacco

        • beobrigitte says:

          Its about big companies worrying about branding of their products, a legal issue that has nothing to do with smoking
          it is a shame other big companies may not be aware of the fallout of this. One of the many, many “devil” products being sold is sugar. And there is a lot of different sugar types available on the market.
          And then, another “devil” product on sale – alcohol – ……
          You’re right, plain packaging has nothing to do with smoking. And it will not affect me, personally. I buy tobacco and roll my cigarettes, which I keep in a nice case. And, just as much as we all got used to the health porn pictures on cigarette packs (and, yes, Prof. Ropohl invented a great card game out of them; other people swapped ‘brown-lung’ for ‘diabetic-leg-ulcer) plain packaging, even in spew-green colour, won’t make a difference.
          In many ways it’s good, I am meeting more and more previously unquestioningly complying people – smokers and non-smokers – all of a sudden having a few questions.

          What does matter to smokers is obvious and would be a better use for nearly half a million supporters than being a puppet for big tobacco
          BIG tobacco? The much by ASH abused David-Goliath position has long since been reversed.
          If “BIG” tobacco is so big we must be told utter nonsense by ASH et al. According to their crusade reports their stop smoking campaigns are incredibly successful – and tobacco control invasion of almost every government on this planet makes smokers live the life of outcasts. (God help them when Putin finds out what he fell for… )

  6. Rose says:


    MPs ‘considering using majority’ to keep UK in single market
    6 June 2016

    “There is a pro-Remain majority in the House of Commons of 454 MPs to 147.
    A Vote Leave campaign spokesman said MPs will not be able to “defy the will of the electorate” on key issues.
    The single market guarantees the free movement of goods, people, services and capital.

    The BBC has learned pro-Remain MPs would use their voting power in the House of Commons to protect what they see as the economic benefits of a single market, which gives the UK access to 500 million consumers.
    Staying inside the single market would mean Britain would have to keep its borders open to EU workers and continue paying into EU coffers.”

    Remain MPs could block EU single market withdrawal post-Brexit
    6 June 2016

    “Pro-EU MPs could try to block Britain’s withdrawal from the European single market if the nation votes for Brexit on 23 June, it has emerged.”

    “Britain would have to keep its borders open to EU workers and continue sending cash to Brussels if it wanted to stay in the unfettered single market comprising 500 million consumers.

    Pro-Remain Labour MP Stephen Kinnock told the BBC: “If the British people voted to leave the EU, that’s one thing.
    “But can we really say that they voted for the devastation and destruction of the entire exporting sector of our economy?
    “I don’t think you can necessarily say that there’s a democratic mandate for that.”

    A minister told the broadcaster the plan was “not fantasy” but a “huge probability”.

    I do hope someone is taking a list of names so we don’t accidentally vote for them in the future.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I was curious (cannot vote for this!) and looked for preliminary results. None found as yet.
      Isn’t it a pity there is no vote for dissolving the EU government and sovereign states agreeing on trade? That kind of thing has been shown to work in the past….

    • Barry Homan says:

      I want to know: if Brexit fails…then what? What’s Plan B?

      • Rose says:

        How do you mean, if Brexit fails? If we don’t manage to escape ? Or if we do and for some mysterious reason we’ve forgotten how to rule ourselves in the last 40 years?

        • Barry Homan says:

          Oops, I meant if you don’t manage to escape this time around. Fingers crossed you will, and the EU slowly loses its grip on other countries; but what if the remainians win? What’s the next trick up your sleeves?

        • Rose says:

          Heaven only knows, Barry, we have had to wait 40 years for this chance, which more or less happened by accident. Cameron thought it would be a coalition government again, so he promised us a referendum, knowing his coalition partners would put a stop to it, like they had done to all the Consevative promises made at the previous election.
          But unexpectedly and against all the polling results, the Conservatives won.

  7. smokervoter says:

    It’s kinda like saying: Choice Kills – Kill Choice

    Which strangely rhymes with: Joy Kills – Kill Joy

    • smokervoter says:

      Crikey, it’s been so long I almost forgot how to navigate
      the login rigamarole.

      You gotta’ admit though, the new, ever-so-concise, me is a lot easier on the cranium.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Welcome back. You don’t have to log in.

        • smokervoter says:

          Seven years my friend. Seven long years I’ve been pulling up a stool and spouting off at the Banging On Bar & Grille. My name was iessalb (or something like that) back in the early days and my comments usually ran two or three very wordy paragraphs at the minimum.

      • nisakiman says:

        Hey, nice to see you again, SV. You’ve been away too long. And wordy or not, your comments are always a good read.

        • smokervoter says:

          Nisakiman, as they say in Espanol – igualmente.

          Just a little inside joke between us woodbutchers. I was reading through some comments the other day (somewhere on the interwebs) and one guy suggested that the object of his scorn should meet up face-to-face with Ernest O. Estwing.

          I thought about you my friend.

        • nisakiman says:

          Heh! I have two Estwing hammers – the best (and probably the most expensive) hammers in the world. The one with the leather handle I’ve had since the 80s, and I seem to recollect it cost me nearly £30 back then.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I like that.

      The French “joie” and “choix” are pronounced almost exactly the same. Maybe “joy” = “choice”.

  8. beobrigitte says:

    The Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

    NOTES that:

    tobacco companies are exploring new ways of maintaining dependence and encouraging use, developing new tobacco products and nicotine-delivery systems, making them fashionable, technological and innovative;

    CALLS ON the Parties:

    to monitor new forms of tobacco products and tobacco and nicotine use and take steps to minimize the introduction and proliferation of such products through prohibition or restrictions of manufacturing and promotion and sales as provided for by the WHO FCTC, its guidelines and protocols;

    I need to wind back to the time when the smoking ban was lobbied by these critters. Wasn’t it all about the oh-so-ultra-hyper-super-dangerous PASSIVE SMOKE? Snus/e-cigs/chewing tobacco don’t produce any of it……. We need to look at this law that was dictated to us in England back in 2007.
    What happened???? Am I to jump to the conclusion that these “good” people have a problem with the tobacco industry and therefore want to destroy it? What happened to free market? Is there ANY industry on this planet which sells a product that isn’t a potential killer? Even a brand t-shirt can kill – if the wearer chooses to use it as a noose.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    In fact, a few years ago I started using lard for frying, and started buying fatty foods like lamb chops, just because it looked suitably unhealthy. But now they’re saying that lard is a miracle food, and people should eat more fat. What a bummer. Maybe I should go back to lean ham fried in sunflower oil?
    I hate lard as much as I hate lamb…. but I am partial to “Griebenschmalz” (pig-fat with bits in it). During the fat scare time it disappeared from butcher shops. Now it has a come back!
    Finally it is understood that we do NEED fat for e.g. the fat soluble vitamins to be taken up by our bodies.

    I guess “science” is about publishing half baked “research-bits” rather than looking at the whole picture.
    That brings me to the question I am still eagerly awaiting an answer to: The so-called lag-phase of 20+ years for smoking to cause lung cancer. Does this mean that in 20+ years I do not encounter any other lung cancer causing agents?

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