Smoke-Free but Nicotine-Trapped
I hope the copywriters of Public Health England’s ‘Smokefree’ campaign will forgive me for my satirical review of their efforts which I put in a chapter of my book, Smoking is a Psychological Problem. At least they were trying, however misguidedly, to help smokers quit. Now, the other day I wished to refresh my memory about a detail of this campaign and put ‘Smokefree’ into Google. I thought I must have mis-typed something because I landed up on a site that had me fooled for a moment. It was called, not ‘Smokefree’, but ‘GoSmokeFree’.
It seems to be a clever ploy to lure you into a site selling e-cigarettes and associated paraphernalia. For this purpose they include several pictures that suggest you’re in a chocolate shop.
Then they tell you:
Quitting smoking is not an easy task, there are numerous methods available to help you quit…One method more people are turning to lately, is the growing use of E Cigarettes (sic). If your goal is to remove nicotine from your body all together, then this option may not be right for you.
Is it just illiteracy, or are they trying to hide something with the careless wording? How do you remove nicotine from your body? If you cease to put any more in, it will over a few days remove itself. Then we have the ‘all together’ business. This means ‘all at once’ or ‘all in one place’. And if they’re saying ‘remove nicotine from your body’ in the same way that you might remove your overcoat when you get indoors and you do it all at once or all in one place, it makes no sense. Perhaps they’re trying to ask whether your goal is to get rid of nicotine altogether, that is, completely or totally. In this case, obviously, you don’t need e-cigarettes or any other ‘option’ to put more nicotine into your body.
Then we have to endure this sort of thing:
Becoming passionate about a new hobby is one way to take your mind off of (sic) smoking. There are dual benefits to a physical hobby as it will help you become healthier, and start to reverse the affects (sic) of smoking on your body, as well as take your mind off of (sic) cigarettes…Laws have been passed which bans (sic) smoking inside places such as bars, schools, cafe’s (sic), lunch rooms and shopping centres.
We should, however, give them credit for their efforts to be good corporate citizens by including advice on ‘The Benefits of Quitting Smoking’. And to achieve this happy state, we are informed:
There Are 4 Key Steps To Going Smokefree. Join the millions of people of britain (sic) who have already gone smokefree! Every person is required (sic) to go through all 4 steps to achieve success.
This is followed by the mysterious ‘Step 1: Interactive Body’. Although they tell you to ‘Download smokefree tools, along with videos and booklets’ where perhaps this is explained, there is no way I could find on their website to do it.
They also make the controversial statement that ‘vaping has been advocated for by (sic) a number of agencies as a cessation device.’ I contacted them to ask who these agencies are. Answer came there none.
They do at least tell you, as they are required to do by law, that ‘Our products contain nicotine and nicotine is addictive’, and this is preceded by the word WARNING in red.
At no point, however, is it explained why anyone in their right mind would want put nicotine into his or her body at all.
Text © Gabriel Symonds