Still lighting up - Smokers not heeding graphic warning

July 07, 2017
The warning signs are printed on the cigarette packets on sale in Bangkok, Thailand.

When the Government made it mandatory for graphic health warnings and messages to be placed on tobacco product packages in 2013, it was hoped that smokers would quit and non-smokers would stay away.

However, checks by THE WEEKEND STAR indicate that persons are still buying and lighting up cigarettes even though the images on the boxes clearly show the health dangers.

Andrew Brown, 53, is among those who are hardly fazed by the graphic warnings.

"When mi see the picture pon the box mi know say that is what is happening to me on the inside and I have been trying to stop every day, because I know it is dangerous but I just can't stop," said Brown, who was among a group of smokers at a bar in downtown Kingston yesterday.

"Mi nuh think the year is going to finish and mi nuh stop," said Brown, who started smoking at age 18.

Dennis Rodney, 20 years Brown's senior, said the reality that smoking might take his life doesn't scare him.

"My father never smoked and he died of cancer in 1944. My mother never smoked a cigarette a day in her life and she also died of cancer," Rodney explained.

Alrick Edwards, who was the youngest among the group, said the soaring price of cigarettes stands as a stronger deterrent than the image of a damaged lung.

"Because it a get dear mi nuh buy so often now," Edwards said.


Main objective


Minister of Health, Christopher Tufton, told THE WEEKEND STAR that the main objective of the initiative is to deter first-time smokers.

He said that he was not prepared to say how effective the initiative has been as he does not have any statistics on the subject.

"Some time ago one of the cigarette companies told me that while their consumption may be declining, the illegal consumption is increasing," Tufton said.

Last month during a sitting of Parliament, Ronald Thwaites asked for the image of a quailed penis to be placed on cigarette packages as he believes this will send a stronger message to smokers or those who are thinking of picking up the habit.

"It would arrest the concern of most men and women," Thwaites told THE WEEKEND STAR.

"Men do not wish to have a quailed penis and women do not wish to have men who have a quailed penis. Erectile dysfunction, graphically described as a quelled penis, is one of the consequences of tobacco habits."

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