In further moves to discourage smoking, the Department of Health have announced a complete ban on naming your favourite brand of cigarette or pointing at them in the newsagents and tobacconists.
‘From now on smokers will have to perform an elaborate round of charades to express their desire to purchase a packet of cigarettes’ explained Jane Shillitoe, Under Secretary of State for Health. ‘For example, ’20 Benson and Hedges’ would involve flashing both palms twice, then doing a sounds-like hen move, then indicating a sun, then a little cross to symbolise the word ‘and’, and finally a mime which recreates a pair of garden hedges. We expect to reduce smoking across the population, except possibly among mime artists.’
The new restrictions come on top of recent plans to strip cigarette packets of their branding, to hide cigarettes under the counter and to replace vending machines with one-arm bandits which dispense a packet of ten if you line up three pairs of cherries. Areas where smokers gather outside offices are being fitted with sprinklers so that they get wet even when it isn’t raining, and fast burning firework fuses are being added to cigarette papers causing smokers to burn their lips within seconds of lighting up. The government is also bringing in a National Tutting Day, in which non-smokers will be encouraged to express their disapproval at anyone smoking in public by waving the smoke away in an annoying manner.
However, plans to ban smoking altogether were rejected. ‘God no, the income from taxes on cigarettes pays for all the schools and hospitals. We don’t want people to stop smoking’ said Ms Shilletoe; ‘We just want them to feel really bad about it.’