The final frontier for health warnings – the ‘iconic’ cigarette

We enjoyed your article on cigarette pack warnings (Voxpop, DW 19 June).

A while back, we did a quick thought exercise on how such warnings might be changed so they had some effect. We concluded, broadly agreeing with your Voxpop contributors, that any changes might simply make cigarettes cooler.

Three ideas, though, did seem to have merit: remove the requirement for warnings on packs; print warnings on the cigarettes themselves and make them more personal; and standardise the look of the cigarettes, using dirty bluish recycled paper to break the iconic, pure image of the white stick. Then insist that pack branding is distinctive and does not draw on the aesthetic of the dirty blue colour.

Personalise the message, shift the focus from pack to cigarette, create a dissonance between the image sold by the pack and the reality expressed by the form of the cigarette.

Whether this is socially acceptable – or would actually make a difference – remains, of course, highly questionable.

Robert Smith, Jog, London EC1

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