Starting in 2013, every pack of cigarettes sold in the U.S. will include graphic images portraying the physical effects of smoking, although looking really cool when you're a teenager won’t be one of them. I’ll probably get a first glimpse when I step outside the office for my daily dose of second-hand smoke, thoughtfully provided by the one remaining addict who has so far resisted my intense campaign against the practice.
There used to be a group of smokers at the front entrance, working collaboratively to induct nonsmokers into their demographic of future emphysema sufferers. But after months of merciless debasement from me -- including once spraying air freshener into their midst -- they changed their self-destructive habits and are now living happy, smoke-free lives. Or they just moved around the corner. All but the one holdout, a stone-faced man of the muscular persuasion who, between mumbling to himself in a deep baritone and glancing around threateningly, seems more likely to crush me like a Marlboro hard pack than discuss his impact on the nation's health-care system.
I wonder if his attitude will change when he buys his first pack of cigarettes with the picture of a dead man on a morgue table, his bare chest crudely stitched up from neck to waist. He was presumably the victim of a lifetime of smoking, not to mention a hasty autopsy. (Either that, or somewhere there's a Home Depot manager trying to forget a chain-saw demonstration that could have gone better.)
The new labels will include close-up images of rotting teeth, unsightly cancer lesions, and decayed internal organs, as well as pictures of a woman dying of cancer, a guy smoking through a hole in his neck, and Michele Bachmann taking the oath of office. Okay, I made up the last one, although that would definitely make me stop smoking. And start drinking.