What would Don Draper say about this?

I saw this sign at a general store in Reykjavik, Iceland.  Now, I know that Europe has heightened its efforts in dissuading people from purchasing tobacco products.  They put giant-sized warnings on cigarette boxes, and if memory serves me, they sometimes include hideous pictures of lifelong smokers’ lungs.  But Iceland, at least let a guy get in the store before telling him not to buy something.

I’m not a smoker myself, but I do recognize the odd place in society smokers now dwell.  They want to smoke, and tobacco companies want to sell them cigarettes, but now in order to do so legally, companies need to say how unhealthy their product is.  It’s like that waiter at a restaurant who, after you order the brownie sundae for dessert, condescendingly asks, “You’re actually going to order the brownie sundae?  Do you know how many calories are in that?”  No, waiter, I don’t know how many calories are in the brownie sundae.  But you’re selling it.  It’s on the menu.  So why don’t you just tell the chef and brace yourself for a crappy tip?

I don’t know how this turned into me defending cigarette companies.  That wasn’t my intention.  Tobacco products cause harm to millions of people a year.  And people should be aware of the dangers of smoking.  But if governments are so concerned about people’s health, why not just make smoking illegal?  It’s already banned from bars and restaurants.  Just stop producing and selling tobacco products.  But that’s never going to happen, because this vice is more acceptable than other vices.  Or, at least the money’s better.  But now Europe (and the World) face a bigger problem than smoking: obesity.  I wonder if one day will come when, on every dessert menu, we’ll see a picture of a morbidly obese person in a much-too-small jumpsuit with a written warning that “eating highly caloric desserts can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and rolls of fat.”

Oh, and I think I finally understand why an Icelandic store might put up a sign like this.  They’ve had enough ash in the air from all the volcanoes erupting.

Sep 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert

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