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Feminism: Sex and gender discussions

Cigarette scare pictures

11 replies

TenBitSailor · 20/04/2013 15:42

I don't know if you have the same ones in the UK, but here in Malaysia the pictures on cigarette packets to scare you away from smoking seem to be split fairly equally into about five categories - a cancerous foot, a cancerous mouth, a cancerous heart, a premature baby in NICU and a stillborn baby.

Now, I know I am sensitive, having experienced a stillbirth and a premature live birth myself. But this seems simply wrong to me.

I know smoking in pregnancy is bad, we all know that.

But what percentage (especially here in Malaysia) of the smoking population is pregnant? I'd hazard a guess of not really that many. If 20% (ish) of the images are aimed at this small (presumably) proportion of the audience, what does it say?

To me, it is little more than an invitation for everyone to go out and judge female smokers, especially pregnant ones.

Smoking is evil, yes. Smoking when pregnant is bad, yes. But does every smoker need to be sold cigarettes with pictures of dead babies on FFS? This disproportionate targeting really pisses me off.

At which point, I suppose I should ask, AIBU? (Wrong section, I know).

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tribpot · 20/04/2013 15:52

I don't think we have those pictures here, we have some of cancerous lungs and I think we have some TV adverts about children being left without parents as a result of smoking.

You're actually talking about 40% or nearly half the advertising being aimed pretty much solely at pregnant or pregnancy-age women. Which I will lay odds is not proportionate to the number of smokers in that category. On the other hand, here at least, young women are the fastest growing category of new smokers, so perhaps there is something to be said about targeting those most likely to start smoking - but frankly for that age group, many of whom don't want to be pregnant, focusing on something more cosmetic would probably have more impact.

I can understand why you find the images highly distressing, and I'm very sorry for your loss and the worry your premature birth must have caused. This seems like a very brutal kind of 'shock' advertising.

TenBitSailor · 20/04/2013 15:56

Sorry, yes, 40%.

It's horrific, isn't it?

I was shocked when I first saw them - the prem baby not so much, but the stillborn one... If I knew how to link pictures I'd... no I wouldn't. It's something that no-one should ever have to see.

I admit to smoking (did give up...) now (not when pregnant), and I just insist the shop person gives me a different packet.

I don't think I've ever seen a Malaysian woman smoking. Expat women yes, and perhaps it's something done in the privacy of homes, but I seriously doubt there are anything close to the number of men smoking. And as for pregnant smokers, highly unlikely.

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DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 20/04/2013 20:48

I've never seen the baby ones either, but that does sound pretty shocking. I can't believe they allow an image of a dead person on packaging. I mean, even images of dead adults are still pretty taboo.

You know what, smoking is a legal activity which garners most governments huge tax incomes. Either have the balls to make the activity illegal, or leave it up to adults to decide what to do with their own bodies.

It seems that a vast amount of non-smoking adults, as well as smoking adults, have the potential to be incredibly upset by this. And yes, it does invite the sort of judgement that inevitably puts women into 'incubator' territotry; the sort of judgement that men never have to face.

I'm not a smoker, for the record.

Smudging · 20/04/2013 21:03

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BeerTricksPotter · 20/04/2013 21:18

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GoblinGranny · 20/04/2013 21:23

I'm with smudging on this one, if you smoke when pregnant, you are creating health issues for yourself and a vulnerable embryo/fetus who cannot escape and who is having toxins mainlined into their bloodstream at a time when their development can be severely harmed by it.
If you choose to risk heart disease and a range of cancers as an individual, that is your choice to make, but only for you.

tribpot · 20/04/2013 21:48

But the OP has noted that (based on her observation) there are very few pregnant smokers in Malaysia. Of course, that could be skewed by differences between city and country, etc.

Whilst perhaps not in the same category, the amount of damage done to children through passive smoking is surely worth of at least one of these cigarette carton pictures? And wouldn't require an implicit judgement on only one gender. Particularly not the gender that appears not to be doing most of the smoking.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 20/04/2013 22:08

Exactly, no-one's actually condoning smoking in pregnancy or positing that it's in any way a good idea.

But 40% of the images targeted at pregnant smokers...? Hmm

Smudging · 20/04/2013 22:08

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DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 20/04/2013 22:39

Passive smoking near children, full-stop. Which involves men taking just as much care as women.

TenBitSailor · 21/04/2013 03:40

Smudging, I'm interested in your assertion that 'Two of the kids on our school have lifelong health problems because their mother smoked while pregnant. One of them is likely to be terminally ill.'

How can you possibly know that? Doctors can't even agree on that.

But anyway, despite almost everyone being in agreement that smoking in pregnancy is A Bad Thing, does it warrant this?

I agree that passive smoking around children is more of a problem. Here you will often see kids in smoky cars (usually with men driving and smoking).

That said, it is perfectly common here to see babies on drivers' laps speeding down the motorway. Children are very rarely strapped in at all, let alone with proper car seats. This strikes me as a far higher danger than the proportional amount of babies affected by smoking in pregnancy.

But then, I'm not the government!

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