Jewish World Review July 24, 2000/ 21 Tamuz, 5760
Fired up and grossed out
over stupid Canadians
PARENTING has taught me -- and television shows such as South Park have confirmed --
that gross is good. In the world of adolescent boys, disgusting is even better.
So efforts to make smoking unappealing by emphasizing the repulsive repercussions of
flipping your Zippo nearly guarantee the opposite effect.
Want to make a 13-year-old boy beg for Marlboros?
Package them with photos of a cancerous tongue, as the Canadian Ministry of Health is
insisting tobacco vendors do, beginning next year.
"Eewww, awesome. Wanna trade a brain cancer for a lip lesion?"
The gruesome-photo campaign is Canada's latest attempt to protect stupid Canadians from
Could it be that stupid Canadians are even stupider than stupid Americans? Should we be
saying, "Thank God for Canada," the way South Carolinians always have
genuflected at the mention of Mississippi?
Here's how stupid Canadian smokers are. They actually asked for the photos. They're so
unhappy being smokers - and so incapable of taking the simple step of quitting (I did
after 16 years, so don't whine in my space but do blow your smoke this way, please.) -
that they want horrifying images to remind them of just how stupid they are.
Studies allegedly report that as many as 70 percent of smokers wish they weren't, and
in Canada they have asked for the grossest reminders possible.
"Smokers said to give us the biggest warnings, the toughest warnings with pictures
and graphics," said Garfield Mahood, executive director of Canada's Nonsmokers Rights
Association. "They say they need all the help they can get in the process of leaving
Make us hurl, in other words, but don't let us smoke.
Couldn't self-loathing smokers just, I dunno, take up whittling or something?
Studies also show, by the way, that in time smokers become inured to simple warnings
about the hazards of smoking. It's sort of like pornography, I guess. The more you see,
the more you need to become . . . presidential.
Thus, Canada's cigarettes must come adorned with graphic, colorful pictures of various
smoking-related images -- a bedridden person dying of lung cancer, the brain of a stroke
sufferer, mouth cancer, as well as inserts explaining how to quit (Hint: don't buy
The 16 pictures will rotate with stronger label warnings, such as: "Cigarettes are
Gosh, really? (Insert photo of stupid smoker slapping forehead here, knocking himself
Another warning plays the child card and features two boys next to a warning:
"Don't Poison Us."
But my favorite -- certain to have been a bestseller among my hilarity-seeking
high-school chums -- features a limp cigarette with this message: "Warning: Tobacco
Use Can Make You Impotent."
My mercy, what's next?
How about this?
I've noticed that enormously fat people often are seen putting sugary, fat-saturated
foods into their mouths. Can there be any doubt remaining that such ingestions produce
globs of unhealthy, not to mention unsightly, fat?
I can't insist enough that McDonalds, Burger King and all others worshipped by the
squat 'n gobble set be required by the Ministry of Improved Attractiveness to place photos
of diseased hearts, clogged arteries and cellulite thighs on burger wrappers, alerting
consumers to the probable consequences of their revolting eating habits.
Next, shouldn't we put photos of fatherless children and battered women on bourbon
bottles? Beer guts on Buds? Bankrupting phone bills on high-end Chardonnays?
The potential, you have to admit, is thrilling.
If I were a betting sort, I'd put my money in tobacco. With a new generation of
potential smokers rising -- and given current high tolerance for revulsion -- the
gross-out tobacco product is a high-yield winner for savvy
JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.
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