What about these new warnings on cigarette packets?
Let me get one thing straight - I'm not, and nor have I ever been (apart from the odd experimental drag) a smoker. I certainly don't want to defend the 'weed' and I fail to see how people can even afford to keep up the habit these days. But these new warnings on the front of fag packets are a bit over the top aren't they?
You walk into your local newsagents these days, and are greeted by a barrage of the sort of messages that can put you off buying your daily paper. 'SMOKING KILLS', 'SMOKING MAKES YOU STERILE', 'SMOKE AND YOU WILL BE SUBJECTED TO REGIME CHANGE', etc, etc.
I understand that the anti-smoking lobby are all-powerful these days, and the government are under pressure from the health agencies and that basically, smoking is just not 'de rigeur' any more - but do we need to be bombarded by all these frightening messages. At least with the old style 'Smoking can seriously damage your health' or '90% of doctors don't smoke' type messages, it wasn't all so final, and most people thought that they might at least make it into next week. After all you don't have to be a smoker to be affected by these new messages - we all have friends or relatives who indulge in the habit - you can't help but feel concerned for their welfare as you pay for your wine gums.
Another concern is that the tobacco companies (or the government) could be the subject of a spate of Trades Descriptions lawsuits. These could come from people who wish to take the 'easy way out' and can't quite afford the fare to Switzerland. Consider it, you're fed up, you've got a constant backache or some other perceived terminal illness and you decide you want out. You nip down to the 8 'til late for your copy of 'Exit Monthly' and lo and behold, the solution is there staring you in the face - 'SMOKING KILLS'. A complete novice, you ask the gentleman behind the counter how many you'll need to take before they take effect - the whole course of twenty? Or, maybe it's more immediate than that if you buy the more expensive ones. Some people are going to be sorely disappointed when they've got through a whole packet and all they've got to show for it is bad breath and the beginnings of a tickly cough.
Let's have a bit of restraint I say - we British used to be renowned for our subtelty, not brash overstatement. And while we're at it why can't the Formula 1 drivers ride around in their souped up fag boxes any more?