But while I'm on the subject of smoking (unlikely to happen again!), here is an interesting little article on the recent No Nanny State advertising campaign. For those lucky enough not to have to put up with it on their television screens, this campaign is an attempt by Big Tobacco companies to encourage smokers to complain about the Australian government's decision to implement plain packaging on cigarettes.
There is a link to the ads in the article, I won't be posting it here because of my own beliefs about the dangers of smoking. To me, even allowing this ad to be on television is an indirect way of advertising smoking.
My understanding of the plain packaging rationale is that by making the packages less attractive, young people (ie. teenagers, the age group where smoking is most likely to commence) are less inclined to take up smoking. Many smokers are arguing otherwise, but I think that if there are any tactics which can prevent teenagers from starting cigarette smoking in the first place, then they should be given a try. Even better would be a complete ban on the sale of all cigarettes, but obviously that's never going to happen now.
It's been a while since I've worked with older people, but you don't forget seeing the long term damage that smoking can do to people's physical health. The cost to the government in supporting these people in their later years is astronomical. Not all of them die a quick death from lung cancer, many of them linger for years with a range of chronic medical conditions. It's a slow and painful way to die.
I hope my kids never smoke. God has blessed them with healthy bodies and minds, something that we are very thankful for. I really pray that they will value those things and that we will be wise in educating them about the dangers of smoking, alcohol and all the other dangerous substances that are out there.