A recent Ahram Online article quoted from the Egyptian minister of health, stating nearly a quarter of all Egyptians smoke, including 46 percent of adult males. This, he said, is one of the highest rates in the world.
But every time one of these Egyptians reaches to take a cigarette, one of these images stares him or her in the face:
The yellow bar advertises the local number to help quit smoking, warning it damages health and causes death. The images are more specific.
The old man: Smoking leads to senility and early impotence.
The child: Secondhand smoking afflicts children with lung disease and asthma.
The foot: Smoking causes gangrene of the foot.
The mouth: Smoking causes tongue cancer.
Here’s a larger image of the tongue:
The campaign to label cigarette boxes is mandated by Egyptian participation in the UN’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Earlier images were much less graphic, though one still touched on impotence as a motivating threat.
The yellow warning reads: Warning, smoking ruins heath and causes death. The harmful effects of smoking afflict both the smoker and non-smoker.
Well and good, but what is meant to capture the attention is this: Over a long period of time, smoking affects marital relations.
This image is directed to women:
The yellow warning is the same, but the specific message says: Being among smokers harms the pregnant woman’s fetus and causes miscarriage.
These kindlier messages have been placed on cigarette boxes since 2008. The scarier images since 2012.
I’m not sure how many Egyptians smoked six years ago, but surely more should call the advertised number: 16805