Ireland – retiring the camel?

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Ireland outlawed smoking in closed public spaces and at workplaces on March 29, 2004. Making Ireland the first country in the world to institute an outright ban on smoking in workplaces, with fines of up to €3,000 on the spot.

This year, 11 years later, Ireland -as the first country in Europe-made a big step forward again and passed a legislation, requiring cigarettes to be sold in plain boxes, with a standard dark wrapper, only containing large health warnings and images of possible diseases.

This law should prevent children from taking up smoking. Poor little camel, you will be retiring and only brand names will be printed small, using similar fonts on all packets.

“Standardized packaging will strip away the illusions created by shiny, colorful cigarette packets, and replace them with shocking images showing the real consequences of smoking,”

I looked at some of the images and it’s gross.

Tobacco-packaging

I do understand why countries feel,  that this might be necessary.

The first thing my husband said was “I am going to buy me one of this cigarette-box-cover-thingies. I looked at him and thought about it. How would I react, if there will be a cigarette pack with disturbing health pictures laying around in the future? For me, it would be a reminder about what still might come. Lets face it, I smoked for 35 years and even though I quit, that doesn’t mean I am “out of the woods” now. Chances that I will have to face a smoke related disease one day, are high. A cigarette pack like this would be a daily reminder for me, the ex-smoker, of what might be coming my way. So, I will buy my husband this cigarette-box-cover-thingie myself. “Here Honey, Merry Christmas!”

We had friends over yesterday, cooked out, sat in the yard and talked about it. My husband still smokes and so do some of our friends, but the majority of us were nonsmokers or ex-smokers

We discussed the new law in Ireland for a while and it was interesting. We all went back on memory lane and found out, we all started smoking the same way. We all were under aged, somewhere in the age between 12-16, and got cigarettes handed to us, either from friends or siblings. That’s how we all started, we wanted to be with the cool kids, wanted to be one of them.

None of us could recall the brand we started out with, or how the first pack we bought looked like. But…we all could remember the kids we smoked with? I found that interesting. We all could buy cigarettes anywhere and everywhere, there were no age restrictions.

We didn’t wake up one day and decided “Hey, lets become a smoker” when we were young. I don’t think anybody really decides something like this…it happens.

I am trying to wrap my head around this. We are in need of a plain packaging law to prevent children from smoking in the long run, even though we already have laws in place, that don’t allow anybody under the age of 18 to buy tobacco products???

I am afraid the younger generation will follow our footsteps. The new trend now are e-cigarettes, same devil just has a different name. It’s everywhere, shiny, legal advertisement for electronic devices, offering different flavors like banana pudding and apple caramel. Long therm studies won’t be available for another 5-10 years…until then, they will try to hook as many kids as possible. There are no age restrictions for e-cigarettes. They can buy them anywhere and everywhere.

A friend of mine made us all laugh, when she said “God forbid and let them put pictures of obese people on my chocolate”. My friend is right, we have way too many obese people in the USA. Should we sell Hamburgs in a box with a warning for stroke and heart attack? Should there be a 300 lbs overweight Goddess on the candy wrapper? Imagine a donuts box with pictures of a dentist office and cavities? Should a politician be allowed to outlaw sugary soda drinks in a city like New York?

Take alcohol for an instant, should’t a dramatic picture of a liver destroyed by cirrhosis help people to stay sober? Wouldn’t we all think about a bottle of wine twice, if the label would show a homeless guy laying in the streets?

Would any of this change my habits? I doubt it. I would come up with a nice wine-cover-up-thingie, if I would have to and would still buy my bottle of Merlot on the weekend.

Children of smokers will more likely follow their lead and will be smoking as well, same goes for drinking. I don’t think we need more laws protection the younger generations. I think we need to be role models. Information is the key, conversation might do trick.

Germany, as the first state, offers now classes in schools teaching kids everything about Nicotine addiction. A different approach, maybe the right one?

home_lunchbox

11 thoughts on “Ireland – retiring the camel?

  1. Interesting post. Reminded me of my brother. When we were little, both our parents smoked. He used to take my mother’s cigarettes and throw them away. Mom and Dad both quit a couple of years later. My brother continues to smoke.

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  2. In Australia smoking in large public squares are now being implemented as well as all indoor public areas and all outside dining& drinking areas.
    I sometimes still see someone lighting up outside but they look guilty which I think is a bit harsh. I used to smoke and it’s not easy giving up.
    A problem now are electric cigarettes. I don’t undertand the fun of an electric cigarette. It must be a bit like taking a blow up rubber sex-doll to bed.

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    • E cigarettes are a big problem and the health risks they will cost. No regulation, no laws for it and what’s worse no age restricting here at all. I call it the modern cigarette -made in China. My neighbor kid is 13 he can buy them anytime, no telling how much harm it will do. Not sure about the rubber sex doll :-). I always say it’s like being an alcoholic running around with an empty bottle 🙂

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  3. I don’t smoke nor drink ( I’m a chocoholic, instead!) but I tried to ask myself how I’d react to that kind of labels , if I were a smoker or a alcohol addict……
    I imagine that I would keep smoking and drinking , as if those warnings were not addressed to me !
    To the rest of the world , maybe,but not me!
    I think that the German approach could somehow work , because it implies a deeper awareness of the addiction problem …..

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    • Amo il cioccolato!!! Nothing wrong with being a chocoholic…at all. You are right, spot on, me too. It might want smokers to quit, but it doesn’t mean they are going to. After a while they will get used to the labels and pictures. I have never done drugs, haven’t tried it at all, even though it was often offered. I fear it like the devil the Holy water. Reason is a movie we had to watch in school when I was around 16 years old. It scared me for life. Gosh I still remember the title…unbelievable~!

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  4. Excellent post! My hubby quit when our son was born 37years ago. I’m hoping none of it comes back to bite him in the butt. But the worry doesn’t really stop thee anymore, does it, since they’ve found that second-hand smoke can cause cancer in anyone who has been exposed to it enough.

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  5. With each day you don’t smoke, the odds of you not suffering one of those horrible diseases improves. I’ve already had cancer twice and every variety of heart surgery, so I’m hoping that’s IT. No more. I paid my dues.

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    • I don’t have too many illusions about it and I am fine with it. I have (had) a blessed and rich life, survived a few health scares that others didn’t. I figure sooner or later we all get our fair share, or maybe what we can handle. I do hope for you that you won’t have anymore health issues 🙂

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