Friday, March 18, 2005

Stupid graphic warnings

The do-gooders at ASH want to see graphic photos (that a small minority of smokers might get) printed on all tobacco products. Although you'd be hard pushed to find a single smoker in the country who doesn't know the risks of smoking, it seems more needs to be done to stop this awful, disgusting, yet enjoyable habit.

We don't buy cases of beer with graphic photos of wife-beatings on the side. Bottles of whiskey don't show possible side-effects such as a career in politics. SUVs don't have graphic warnings of squashed children on the back. But it's OK to demonise and persecute smokers as the lepers de jour.

A simple way to avoid existing and future stupid warnings is at hand. It's called... a cigarette case. I have avoided stupid warnings for over five years by using one. ASH can huff and puff but they won't affect me with their passive buffoonery.

Muriel Newman has launched the Smokefree Environments (Exemptions) Bill to try and encourage a little more toleration of smokers. Although it means well, it just looks like a lot of red tape on consensual agreement and so forth. More traction might have been gained by keeping it simple, and improving the property rights of businesses.

For example, the equivalent of an End User's License Agreement could be posted at the entrance to businesses. By entering the premises, consumers agree to the conditions laid out in the EULA. Such things could include a disclaimer that people might be smoking, drinking and having fun in the premises, and that anything they find disagreeable can be solved by going somewhere else. Catholic churches could then warn people that inhaling incense and candle crap might be bad for one's lungs, and you pray at your own risk. I don't see ASH raising a warning about this anywhere.