Australia discourages the smoking of cigarettes by means of its so-called “plain packaging” legislation. This is a misnomer: the required packages are not plain at all, but covered with gruesome images of deseased body parts.
Smoking cigarettes in company is pretty anti-social, and in any event, it seems pretty clear that smoking cigarettes is markedly dangerous to the health of the smoker. Views differ as to whether individuals should be discouraged from smoking in the privacy of their own homes. But there can be little doubt that, as a determent – particularly for young people – pulling out a pack that is plastered with such revolting images is hardly attractive.
In my parents’ time, the smokers (much more numerous then) used cigarette cases. My father’s, for example, is a very solid silver job that was given to him by his mother during WWII. Perhaps she thought it might protect him by stopping a bullet or piece of shrapnel – it is bulky enough. Every morning, my father would decant cigarettes from the cardboard Players Senior Service pack into his silver case. It beats me why people who smoke now do not do the same thing now. The legislation contains various anti-avoidance measures, but a quick look at it suggests no prohibition on this simple expedient.
I do not smoke cigarettes. But if I did, I would not only want to avoid the ugliness of the “plain” packs, but to feel that I was at least making a gesture against a government intent in pushing its unwelcome Stalinist nose into my life. We should all do our bit in this regard.