First there was the European Union’s media campaign to discourage cigarette smoking, now picture warnings have been introduced for the packettes.
Health and consumer protection commissioner david byrne unveiled a database of 42 images. Each of the 25 EU member states can decide whether to make tobacco companies put the pictures on what they sell. Ireland and Belgium are expected to bring them in next year. Experts put the annual cost of tobacco-related disease in the EU at 100 billion euros. Byrne underscored other shocking aspects about smoking: “Smoking may reduce the blood flow and cause impotence. This doesn’t look like a very happy couple. And I suppose, again, that it emphasizes there are better things in life besides smoking, a lot better.” The Commission says that experience in Canada, which uses picture warnings, suggests they can help reduce smoking. And if you thought EU rules can sometimes be quite imposing, doctors in Canada have just proposed there should be a ban on smoking in cars carrying children. Critics say this is another attack on personal freedom. Byrne also gave a class of Belgian school kids a cash prize for a don’t smoke poster they designed.