Do picture warnings really discourage smoking?

May 31, 2009 at 6:26 pm 5 comments

wntd_sticker_600Today is “World No Tobacco Day”. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) the theme of World No Tobacco Day 2009 is “Tobacco Health Warnings”, with an emphasis on the picture warnings that have been shown to be particularly effective at making people aware of the health risks of tobacco use and convincing them to quit.

More and more countries are fighting back against the epidemic of tobacco by requiring that packages of tobacco show the dangers of the product’s use, as called for in guidelines to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Whenever I travel I always ask the hotel to book me a room on a No Smoking floor, and they usually oblige. Of course in Pakistan it doesn’t really matter if it is a No Smoking room, or a No Smoking floor. People who stay at the hotel end up smoking in the room regardless. This leads to inconvenience and suffering for those of us who are allergic to cigarette smoke because, no matter how much the room and the linen is washed and cleaned, the smell is somehow embedded in the rugs and curtains and pillows. I have often returned from one of my domestic trips wheezing and suffering from the after-effects of passive smoke.

You can imagine how delighted I was therefore when I checked into the Pathumwan Princess Hotel in Bangkok and saw this sign:

non-smoking hotelI had heard of Non-Smoking flights but this was the first time I had come across a Non-Smoking hotel. God bless them. Lovely hotel. Great service and totally smoke free (other than a small Smoking room opposite the Bar in the lobby, where smokers were banished to indulge their unhealthy habit). Maybe that will discourage them! Probably not.

Entry filed under: Posts.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • Do picture warnings really discourage smoking?…

  • 2. Daud Ahmad  |  May 31, 2009 at 8:58 pm


  • […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

  • 4. Vic  |  June 1, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I think the idea of pictorial warnings is good for our region, simply because cigarette smokers do not necessarily need to know how to read. Also, the pictures that Indian cigarette companies have been asked to display (from yesterday) are supposed to be graphically discouraging – pictures of horrible looking diseased lungs, and so on. That will probably convey more than a few words (which they already carry, incidentally).

    I notice Daud comments “no” in response to the headline. Sadly, he is probably correct. In a larger sense, surely people should have the right to live their lives, and end them, the way they want? Provided, of course, they do not hurt others in doing so. This is where cigarette companies fail, that they sell products whose ill-effects are borne by others, financially, quite aside from emotionally.

    One of my friends has just taken over the chair of a University in the US, on sustainability. Cigarettes are definitely a good example of a non-sustainable industry, that couldn’t sell the packaging, much less the tobacco, if they had had to incur the cost of the resultant and connected healthcare.

  • 5. Faizuddin  |  June 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Despite being a smoker myself, I relaize and loathe the ill-effects of smoking, particularly avoiding in public places, closed rooms and in front or near infants/elderlies/ sensitive. But of course this is antagonistic.

    I believe picture messaging about ills of smoking will sure help the smokers refrain, or at least motivate their loved ones to convince them to quit. Watch “No Smoking” (Indian Movie starring John Abraham) to feel the strength of visuals.


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