Sunday, June 9, 2013

Beware the Scary Anti-Smoking Ads in Theatres

These days, I get a little worried when I go with Anjali to watch movies - children's or otherwise. The Anit-Smoking ads that pop up without any warning are the sole reason. They are scary enough to watch for me (truly off putting stuff) and I am sure anyone who is smoking in the theatre at that moment will surely stop smoking which is perhaps the noble intention behind it. Good for you guys - I mean why can't you sort it out with the smokers and leave the rest of us out of it.

But spare a thought for the trauma that all the others (the non-smokers) suffer from watching the gory visuals. More so, little children. If the ads cause me to flinch every time I see them, I can only imagine what impact they would have on little children.

So I try to distract the five year old or get her to shut her eyes in my mistaken belief that I am protecting her from the evils of this world. But certainly she will be exposed to this ad sometime (and some more of its kind) and wonder if all smokers are going to end up like this. Or if all movies will always begin with such stuff. Pain must come before pleasure.

Personally I do not think it is appropriate to show family audiences, certainly ones where young children are likely to view them. whoever is in charge of having these ads forcibly shown could certainly do a rethink before an entire generation grows up with these traumatic visuals shown to them just before the pleasant experience of watching a movie. It reminds me of Pavlov's dog and I am behaving more and more like that dog, tensing up before the movie until this ad is done. Maybe in later years every time a movie is shown I will tense up involuntarily at precisely the same time that the Anti-smoking ad comes on. Only time will tell. Or the chap sitting at the bottom of the couch.

I asked my friend Ranjan, who smokes, if he would quit smoking because of this ad. He categorically said no. Perhaps it is for all those smokers who might start smoking. We don't know really. Surely there must be some thought to it all. I don't think it's a pleasant memory for the family of the lad who died of mouth cancer who is in the ad. Rather insensitive again.

But if smoking is so harmful, why is the government allowing its sale?

Naive question me lads I know.

But I fail to see the logic that we allow sale of such harmful stuff. And then spend a fortune from the tax payers lot to make these ads which serve no purpose but to traumatise the poor lot of non-smokers. (The smokers probably wander off to smoke a couple to rid themselves of this stress.) The non-smokers will probably have to spend much more to treat the Pavlovian responses later on in our lives perhaps.

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