“The devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

As regular readers will know, I’m not a fan of Big Tobacco. To say the least. The heinous shitheads who push their deadly and addictive product around the globe under the cover of marketing glamour and the illusion of free choice make me sick. When I think of the contrast between the images of freedom, individuality and rebellion that tobacco companies push and the stark reality of a smoker’s slow and painful death from lung cancer, the infamous quote from The Usual Suspects by way of Charles Baudelaire that I used as the title of this blog springs to mind.

However, while Phillip Morris, BAT, etc may have partly succeeded in convincing (some) smokers that Big Tobacco isn’t evil incarnate, reading the other day about the cigarette counterfeiters who are bootlegging big brands, I don’t think ‘Little Tobacco’ will manage to pull off the same trick. The idea that, to turn a profit, people would create and flog cigarettes filled with human shit, dead flies, rat droppings, mould and asbestos is thoroughly depressing. As is the reality that, to save themselves a few quid, people would smoke them. But, the Guardian article is either badly researched or badly written or both, because after the sensationalist headline, there’s no reference to these grim ingredients and no hard facts. Which makes the cynical conspiracy theorist side of me begin to wonder if it’s part of a government smear to put people off buying cheap B&H and ensure they keep getting their grubby hands on their vital fag tax blood money.

Who knows for sure, but one fact is indisputable. Whether smokers are buying cheap knock-offs or ‘real’ cigarettes, the product they’re lighting up and inhaling into their lungs is full of shit. That may be actual human shit or synthetic, poisonous, big brand shit that’s far more toxic; we’re talking degrees of mentalism here – whichever it is, it’ll kill them. The massive con of smoking goes on: the £114 million lost to fake fags is a drop in the ocean to Big Tobacco – Phillip Morris alone makes around £27 billion profit per year. These are sobering and depressing facts but, on the upside, smoking rates in Australia are down and plain packaging is having a tangible effect. Those stats cheers me up, as does the fact that we have more anti-smoking creative work coming soon, which I think will have a big impact. Watch this space…


About antmelder
Executive Creative Director at Host/Havas Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

One Response to “The devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

  1. Rob Hackett says:

    Brilliant post. I couldn’t agree more – I’m sure the fake fags spin has been created by the tobacco giants – scum of the earth. Keep up the great work.

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