Cigarette packet warnings are no smoke screen
There is a popular misconception about the purpose of putting grisly images on cigarette packets.
Most people think the aim is to remind smokers that tobacco is bad for their health and could, ultimately, put them into an early grave.
This is why so many people are sceptical about whether the photos that will appear on packets in the UAE from August will have any affect.
After all, can there surely be a single smoker in the UAE who is not aware of the dangers?
In truth, the real purpose is not to target individuals per se but to change the culture of the country. The aim is to make smoking socially unacceptable.
And to this purpose, the images are a good step forward. People will feel more awkward producing a packet in a crowded bar if it is plastered with a photo of a diseased lung, as has happened in some countries, than trendy colours and swish writing.
No they won't stop individuals smoking on their own, but the collective response from society might.
Simon Pluckrose is Head of News at Al Sidra Media LLC, the publisher of 7DAYSinDubai.com, 7DAYSinAbuDhabi.com and the newspaper 7DAYS