If the gory photos on cigarette packs and the threat of a hideous death weren’t enough, now an academic has come up with a grim countdown-to-death for smokers.
Smokers will literally be able to see the minutes of their life expectancy drop away with each smoke, if Massey University College of Health head Professor Paul McDonald’s idea gains traction.
He is proposing an idea in which each cigarette would be marked with six rings and a message saying each ring smoked past would take a minute off life expectancy.
If adopted, New Zealand would be the first in the world to print warnings directly on to cigarettes.
The idea is still in its infancy but a preliminary survey of 10 smokers by Prof McDonald showed it would have a “profound” effect.
I’d be wary of any study with just 10 people in it.
As with plain packaging, I’d trial ideas like this in a geographic region so one can establish whether smoking rates there change more than the rest of the country.
The Dominion Post asked four smokers if Professor Paul McDonald’s idea would encourage them to quit.
– Luke Eling, 23, a chef from Brooklyn: It wouldn’t help.
It’s killing you but you are going to die anyway, so bugger it.
I would see if I can smoke it faster than six minutes.
– Robbie King, 33, a body piercer from central Wellington: If it was actually true and you could gauge it like that, it may help. Yes, smoking can be bad for you but my grandfather lived till 97, smoking five times as much as me.
– Mark Speedy, 35, a milkman from Churton Park: It wouldn’t stop me. What if you have a heart attack? Is it a minute off that? Obviously not.
– Sue Barratt, 54, works in insurance, from Karori:
It probably wouldn’t. I still enjoy smoking – that’s the problem.
I do feel guilty about smoking, more than I used to.
I suspect most smokers already know it kills you.