DIRTY PICTURES CONCEALED
Those horrible nasty tobacco companies are at it again. In a cynical wheeze to beat the plain packaging law later this year, guess what they've done?
According to the Sunday Times, "JTI has an ‘electrifying’ tin for its Mayfair cigarettes." Apparently, they are offering cigarettes for sale in durable branded tins, just days before plain-packaging rules come into force. Although I haven't seen them myself, it seems that JTI is offering Benson & Hedges, Mayfair and Camel cigarettes in limited-edition tins. The Mayfair and Benson & Hedges tins follow the branding of a normal packet, while the Camel cigarettes come in a multicoloured design. It sounds like an interesting idea to me.
The usual sources are up in arms though. That old bluffer Dr. James Reilly is calling the move, “hugely cynical” and that's coming from a man without a single cynical bone in his body. Dr. Donal Buggy, head of advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society, said the tins were “just another smokescreen from the tobacco industry” and that they would fail to reverse the trend of falling smoking rates in Ireland. He's right of course about flashy packaging having no effect on smoking trends just as the ugly packaging won't either.
But if JTI are feeling all smug this morning believing they have come up with something new, Forest Ireland had news for them. Attractive cigarette cases have been available for some time now and yours truly even took two samples on TV a couple of years ago to show to smoking viewers. They are handy, cheap and durable and if you find the medical pornography on the box from the shop disgusting, these plastic boxes hide it. You have a choice of colours and styles but the website offers an easy template where you can copy and paste any image to be screen-printed onto your personal cigarette case. A picture of your loved one perhaps or of your favorite sport's star? You might prefer something soothing like a mountain scene or maybe there are some crafty smokers out there who'll find the original design from the box their preferred cigarettes came in and have that printed instead. The cases are €5.00 each with an additional €1.50 for the design of your choice.
Another website called, "Made in China," offers cases made out of plastic, metal, leather or aluminium. The boxes can be flip-top, flip sideways, or open in two haves in a presentation style. Material colours and designs can be plain, floral, marble, metallic, graphics, library designs or customised to your own taste. Some have a side pocket for a lighter and they will even provide lighters and even e-cig holders if you like. Prices are low and shipping is fast.
There are four more such product suppliers here, here here, and here. You may wish to compare produce and prices from all five and if you don't find the right mix among that lot then Google has pages of addresses for anyone in the market for an attractive cigarette container. If you are a retailer then off the top of my head you could browse around here or here and here to find cigarette cases in units between 500 and 5,000 for resale.
So relax Dr. Reilly & Dr. Buggy, JTI have not found a new way around vicious attacks on innocent smokers. Cheap accessible containers to fit your twenty cigarettes inside have been around for a long time and I've spotted a few on nights out. But there is a further point to be made here. I took the time to research the origins of these new photographs of disease that will soon festoon tobacco products. It appears they originate in medical text books and are just lifted from there and slapped on your cigarette box. So these pictures are used as a visual aid when training doctors. Fair enough!
However, there is no single disease peculiar to smokers. All of the known conditions associated with smoking are also associated with not smoking. As such, each of those off-putting images, if they have a message to send, are telling you this too could be you, whether you smoke or not. It is a reminder to all of us that we could become very ill. Now I'm all for awareness but who needs to be reminded of that kind of vivid reality on a night where you are supposed to be enjoying yourself and forgetting your cares.
If for no other reason then, these alternative containers for cigarettes could become more popular, perhaps even a personal fashion statements for some. Who'd have thought it?