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.
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.