This story is a couple of months old:
A Spanish man is suing health officials after discovering a photo of himself having spinal surgery being used as a cigarette health warning.
The picture of the 54-year-old from Galicia shows him hooked up to breathing apparatus with the warning, ‘smoking can cause embolisms and disability’.
He thinks the picture, which is being used on cigarette packets, was taken while he was knocked out and undergoing surgery at Satiago de Compostela hospital in April three years ago…
…the picture was taken of him in his hospital bed while receiving treatment for long-term back problems, and had nothing to do with smoking.
The Spaniard was getting a titanium plate inserted into his spine.
Health officials have launched an investigation into how the picture of the non-smoker’s has ended up on cigarette and snuff packets across the region without his consent.
This is another example of deceit by Tobacco Control. A photo of someone undergoing spinal surgery is being used to warn smokers against the consequences of smoking. It’s not clear whether the man was even a smoker.
The implicit suggestion being made is that this man is suffering the consequences of smoking. But he isn’t. It’s another lie, like the Black Lung Lie that smokers’ lungs are black inside.
Tobacco Control tells lies.
Recently in the UK the new “plain” packaging of tobacco has started to be rolled out. I’ve started collecting them. I’m planning to scan a few into my computer, and publish them on my blog.
One thing I’ve noticed is that none of the photos have any accompanying explanatory text, saying what is being shown. They’re just pictures. They could be pictures of anything, or anyone. You have to supply your own meaning to them. There are accompanying admonitions or assertions that “Smoking Kills” or “Smoking Causes xxx” which may or may not be related to the photos.
The first one I got was of a rather handsome young man lying in bed, his eyes shut. Is he dead, or is he sleeping? Is he naked, or is he clothed? Is it a hospital bed, or his own bed at home? There’s no way of knowing. There is no explanation provided. But given that he’s got a fairly nice pink complexion, he probably isn’t dead at all. Dead people don’t have nice rosy cheeks.
Another one has got what looks like a close-up photo of a hole in a piece of skin. Close examination reveals that the hole is at the base of someone’s throat. How did he get to have a hole like that? Did someone fire a bullet through his neck? Did he burn the hole with a cigarette? Was he a smoker at all? Again, no explanation is provided. And so any explanation can only be provided by one’s own imagination. You have to provide your own narrative, connect the dots. And because the picture is appearing on a tobacco packet, you have to include tobacco into that narrative.
Another one has a chap with what looks like a newspaper spread over his face. Is he asleep too? Or is he just very short-sighted?
This is deceitful. Information is being withheld. After all, an explanation could have been provided. There’s was plenty of space on the packet for a quite detailed explanation, but it was not provided. It’s what’s not being said, what we’re not being told, that emerges as the missing element, the missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
What if newspapers were just filled with photos, without any accompanying explanatory text? Or accompanied by admonitions that “Smoking Kills”? Why not have a photo of a Boeing 747 landing at some airport, with “Smoking Kills” in capital letters underneath, and leave it to the reader to make the associations, join up the dots. Is the plane about to crash and burn? Was the plane crash caused by someone smoking in the jet, or someone smoking near the runway? Were the engines smoking? Were the tyres smoking?
Or a picture of a rose bush growing in a plant pot, with “Smoking Kills” the caption under it. Or a sunset on a beach, with “Smoking Kills” under it.
Or slight variants. A block of ice, and “Smoking Chills.” A singer at a microphone, and “Smoking Calls.” Add your own meaning to any confection of words and pictures. Then add more words and pictures until it becomes meaningless, and for all you know, it could be that “Smirking Causes Lung Cancer.” And whyever not?