All Smoke And Mirrors : The Mythology Of Cigarettes And Plain Packaging

1902 Words Nov 22nd, 2016 8 Pages
All Smoke and Mirrors: The Mythology of Cigarettes and Plain Packaging
Ashy, dried-out organs release burning coughs, horrific wheezing, and never-ending suffering. Discolored sickly skin slowly melts away from a cancer-ridden neck to reveal yellow and diseased tissue beneath. Abhorrent images of pulsating sores inside a grandfather’s diseased lungs, an otherwise beautiful woman’s rotting gums littered with black and yellow disintegrating teeth, and terrified, hospitalized children breathing through oxygen masks. These, among other repulsive and revolting media, remind people across the world of the utter destruction cigarette smoking can wreak on a living being. The material presence of health warnings on cigarette packages are necessary and constant reminders that every purchase of a pack, flick of a lighter, and inhale of stress-relieving toxins will lead to the failure of vital biological systems. The hope of anti-smoking groups is that the reek of rotting flesh will slowly lift off the cardboard, drift into the nose of a consumer, and somehow alter their behavior. A legal and societally-accepted evil, cigarette smoking continues to persist in American society and around the world amidst damning medical evidence. The positive mythology of cigarettes, the contrary mythology created by plain packaging, and the resulting cultural and societal impacts of these mythologies will be explored through Roland Barthes’ material theory.

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