Smoking is injurious to health. That is common sense: If smokers can stop smoking that would be good for them. If people do not smoke at all, that would be really great.
World over, several countries have forced cigarette manufacturers to print written and or pictorial warnings on cigarette packets in order to keep people away from smoking. These warnings depict cancerous body parts and other nauseating signs of serious deceases. Health authorities and government agencies believe that these warnings could keep away people from smoking. But the result of the warnings so far achieved has been found to be on the other side: Cigarette smoking has not stopped; quantity of the products at the manufacturing and distribution levels has increased; smokers still continue to smoke.
‘Suggestion’ is a word frequently used in linguafranca. Suggestion contains powerful force. There are two types of suggestions: They are what are called ‘hetero suggestion’ and ‘autosuggestion’.
Think of a person who repeatedly keep telling in his thought that he is weak and ill health is bringing his end sooner than later. The thought itself is a suggestion, a disguised suggestion. The result of the suggestion might one day turn out to be unbelievably disastrous: The person may fall sick and may even meet with his untimely end. Here the suggestion that was imposed was self-made and it is called ‘autosuggestion’. If a third person repeatedly tells another person that his health is declining and that he is going to fall sick soon, the ultimate result would be the same as that of the autosuggestion. Only difference is the origin of the type of suggestion that impacts the subject. A suggestion that is directed towards a third person by another person is named as ‘hetero-suggestion’.
The above example brings home the truth of the adverse impacts of the written and or the printed warnings on cigarette packets.
The warnings on the cigarette packets amount to hetero suggestions at the manufacturing and marketing levels. Once the cigarette packet reaches the hands of the consumer who is the smoker, the printed warnings on the packet becomes tool of autosuggestion for the smoker. The meaning and contents of the warning repeatedly haunt the helpless smoker. The smoker is helpless because he is addicted to smoking. It becomes totally difficult for him to stop smoking. The smoker becomes entangled in the two fold frights of his helplessness: For one thing, the smoker becomes helpless by not being able to stop smoking. For the other, the smoker gets dreadful of the consequences of smoking. Acute anxiety ridden stress of the smoker takes him to real state of the doom depicted by the warnings. The smoker becomes ill and ends up sooner than later which might not have happened in the absence of the warnings.
Warnings on cigarette packets can seldom find solution for smoking. The best way to deal with the issue is to let the smokers smoke. The authorities concerned should, at the same time, take effective measures to restrict or to stop the availability of smoking materials in the markets and in the outlets.
Written and Pictorial Warnings on packets of smoking materials slowly and steadily become tool of destructive psychological warfare. The agencies which cry foul for smoke free society might have to stop the psychological warfare of maiming the innocent ones who fall prey to smoking. The Authorities concerned should stop the tirade; instead, they should device means to restrict and or to stop the production of smoking materials if they are really interested in the welfare of the people.