Pictures Versus Words, Uruguayan Style

Earlier today, I stepped over a discarded cigarette box on a New York City sidewalk. “Smoking Kills,” the bold letters declared on the label. Everyone knows the usual endgame of smoking; is a simple, declarative reminder of this risk really going to change anyone’s mind?

Uruguay, however, has taken a more illustrative angle with its cig pack messages — so illustrative that I made a hobby out of photographing the discarded packs when I was traveling around the country in March. (I wish I could have also photographed the puzzled looks around me while I was bending down photographing litter.)

Below is a collection of Uruguayan cig pack images for your viewing pleasure. More effective than American packs? You decide.

Translation: 'Looks just like you?' Somewhere else on the pack it mentions that kids do what they see their parents doing.

Translation: Smoking gradually reduces your senses of taste and smell.

I found these not-so-kissable lips at a duty free shop in Chui.

Translation: You didn’t perform. Smoking diminishes your physical and sexual abilities.

I’m not too surprised Uruguay has taken such actions. Uruguay was the first Latin American nation to ban smoking in public places four years ago under then president Tabaré Vázquez, an oncologist who has seen his share of cancer caused by smoking. Not everyone is happy, though: Philip Morris Tobacco is trying to bully Uruguay into making the above images smaller, claiming that the images are hurting tobacco sales. Which means the images are having an effect.

About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, Roads & Kingdoms, Narratively, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Breakfast for Alligators: Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas (released in July 2016) and Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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