I smoke. I know it's not the healthiest thing but I still do it. Call it addiction, stupidity or a fucked-up passion, all fine. But while I'm doing it I rather enjoy it than giving myself a hard time. Whatever you do, do it with love, right?
The other day I was in my local tobacco shop and had a conversation with the owner about those nasty photos of black lungs and rotten teeth that now cover every single tobacco product. Apparently the photos are meant to keep young people from starting to smoke and perhaps even encouraging some older smokers to quit.
Let's assume for a moment that photos could indeed change our behaviour. The big question would be this: Why only on cigarette packets?
The tobacco shop owner told me that his niece said to him that she had learned at school that smoking is very harmful and that she's worried because her parents smoke. An understandable concern. However, one week later he met his niece in town with a Big Mac in her hand. “They didn't tell you about McDonalds at school, did they?”
Okay, so let's put shocking photos on cigarette packets. But then there should be also photos of ill people on every burger from a fast food chain. Photos of fat diabetics on every bottle of coca cola, close-ups of destroyed livers on every alcoholic beverage, dead heads before 90% of all TV shows and images of crying souls on every album of reggaeton. And every DJ playing reggaeton should be shot for prophylactic reasons!
One day I'll quit again. And when I do, it will be because of deep self-love and a desire to live healthier. It won't be because I've seen some scary photo. Because if photos really changed our behaviour, there would be no war and terror in the world by now...