I was reading a couple of days ago about how the Neo-Puritans are now poised to start lobbying for warning labels on alcohol. No matter that Tobacco Control were vehement in their denial that so-called ‘plain’ packaging should ever be suggested for any product other than tobacco; tobacco of course being a ‘unique’ product so deadly that mandatory warnings are considered essential.
But that aside, as ever with Tobacco Control, the packaging issue started with “We just want to put a small warning on the side of the pack – ‘Smoking can damage your health’, or something like that – it will make people want to quit”.
When the warnings didn’t have the desired effect, in the minds of Tobacco Control it wasn’t because it was a stupid idea in the first place, it was because the warnings weren’t big enough. So they persuaded the ever gullible politicians that the warnings must be larger. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work, either, so it was rinse and repeat until we arrived at the grotesque packaging that is becoming more and more prevalent the world over.
Obviously, Tobacco Control must have realised many years ago that warnings on packs were a waste of time, and the number of people quitting because of them was negligible, but they also realised that they had here a great vehicle for taking away any aesthetic enjoyment a smoker may get from looking at, and using, the cigarette packet. And the name of the game here is making smoking as uncomfortable and unpleasant as possible in a bid to force those who defy their edicts into conformity. So for anyone wondering why Tobacco Control insisted on UK adopting ‘plain’ packaging when all the evidence showed that it was an abysmal failure in Australia, the reason is this; it wasn’t expected to succeed in the aims set out to persuade the Australian government to pass the law, the ‘plain’ packaging mandate’s main objective was to uglify the packets, to remove yet another aspect of the pleasure of smoking and punish the smokers for defying the Public Health gods.
They have no concept of culture, or beauty; only a fevered adherence to the dogma. Anything which gets in the way of the agenda must be either swept aside or trampled beneath the jackboot. They are like the Taleban who destroyed the magnificent Buddhas of Bamiyan because of their warped ideology – immune to any sense of history or art. They are the Philistines who, to paraphrase Wilde, know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
Anyway, shortly after I was reading about PP for alcohol, I happened to need something from a small ‘bits’n’pieces’ storage tin I have on the shelf next to mewhich I bought in Duty Free at some airport about twenty or so years ago (and contained 50 cigarettes when I bought it), and I thought how nice it was to see cigarette packaging without any of the vandalistic graffiti plastered over it, which led me to have a bit of a nostalgic browse over some of the old cigarette packs that I remember (and some I don’t).
The ‘before my time’ ones are fantastic – lovely whimsical designs that were small works of art:
Who could resist Faulkner’s Nosegay Shag cigarettes?
Or Dr Batty’s Asthma cigarettes? Wonderful! (But not recommended for children under six, mind.)
And then there were the ones that I remember:
And of course the brands from across the pond:
And there were some lovely packs from Greece:
And more recently from Greece, two brands I smoke occasionally:
Then of course we had the upmarket brands, of which there seemed to be quite a few back thirty or forty years ago:
And a brand which I smoked in the late 60s – early 70s which was made with US tobacco but cut in the fashion of English cigarette tobacco. Made by PJ Carroll, but sadly only on the market for a short while – they obviously didn’t catch on:
And last but not least, a Russian cigarette named after the dog they shot into space in 1957. Laika.
They were all small works of art, a delight to the eye. Mostly now destroyed by the artless Philistines in Tobacco Control. And for what? Spite and malice, pure and simple. One less thing for smokers to enjoy, which TC counts as success.
They really are the most joyless, petty, malevolent bunch of bastards one could imagine.
I’d like to think that there’s a special place in Hell reserved just for them.