Photo cred - ▲Cone Photograh ▲
Today marks the second day of the Quebec Tobacco-Free Week, entirely dedicated to encouraging Quebecers to quit smoking before it's too late. The banner, "Tobacco makes its victims suffer before it kills them," is a scary, but accurate statement about the realities of smoking, but the message sadly gets lost behind an over-the-top cringe-worthy commercial.
No one cares about stats.
Instead of just blowing smoke about the stats of cigarette-related illnesses, the Quebec Council on Tobacco and Health decided to release a terrifying TV spot portraying the "victims" in the depths of their illness, with the hopes of making even the heartiest smokers think twice about inhaling another drag of deadly tobacco.
The glamour of smoking.
While this is an extremely important initiative, and definitely a far cry from the glamorization of days of yore, the video is about as effective as those gross pictures you find on packs of cigarettes, and instead of giving a face to the damage smoking causes, it essentially just caricaturizes its victims.
Ignoring the message.
Promoting a smoke-free Quebec is a worthy cause (it is 2015 after all), but is watching a man inserting his voice box really the way to go? Especially when these spots are played around dinner time, where the sound of a man telling us how much smoking is making him suffer before it kills him, just makes us want to change the channel.
There's no denying the shock value of these images, which can sometimes make people look, but as to whether it actually translates to getting smokers to take it seriously is debatable.
It's just too profitable for the government.
Though the fact that one person in Quebec dies every hour as a result of smoking should be shocking enough, the truth is our society simply doesn't respond unless there are visual cues, and even then, it gets easily overlooked. Showing the visceral effects of what happens can definitely serve to hit the point home, but the reality is, until they actually make cigarettes illegal, people will continue to smoke, as they always have. Unlikely, though, as the industry generates too much money for the government, which makes the whole campaign largely ironic and rather hypocritical, given that it is presented in collaboration with the government of Quebec.
At the end of the day, it's just noise like everything else.
The objective of the Quebec Tobacco-Free Week 2015 is to "lift the veil on their suffering," but that's sadly all it seems to do. As long as it happens to characters on tv, it will never actually inspire anyone to give up smoking. Until it happens to them or someone they know personally, it's noise, albeit horrifying noise, that most will just gloss over like everything else we're bombarded with on a daily basis.
Instead of just promoting a week-off from smoking with a shocking video, wouldn't banning cigarettes all together be more effective?