If patches, pills, gum, strips, tablets, hypnosis, and going cold turkey don’t help you to curb your smoking habits, maybe Taiwanese designer YiWen Tseng’s project, “Tobacco,” could help.
With the exception of going cold turkey, nearly all cessation methods rely on gradually weaning the user off her nicotine dependency. Rather than sever the addict’s ties to the drug completely, patches and gums offer a manageable off-ramp that keeps the brain happy, but moves forward in the process. Tseng’s new concept series reimagines that process, only with the cigarettes themselves.
The artist says she first got interested in designing the products after her grandfather passed away from smoking-related cancer. “This was the first time I experienced my dearest family got a such serious ill due to his habit which he really loved to do,” Tseng told Medical Daily. While she conceded that she doesn’t necessarily see her designs as immediate quitting tools, they could be a jumping off point. “I just tried to think whether I can slightly change the cigarette itself to get more health back.”
Tseng’s designs come in several varieties. The first is called Tobacco-Luck, which features a pack of cigarettes with increasingly longer filters, which also means less tobacco.
The next is called Tobacco-Sharing — an extra-long cigarette with a filter on each end that’s meant to be broken in half. Two smokers can share the stunted cigarette without each having to buy two regular-sized ones.
The third, Tobacco-Trace, employs a bit of public participation and fear tactics to get smokers throwing away their cigarette butts, if not quitting altogether. Each Tobacco-Trace cigarette is branded with its own identification number, which people can look up online to trace the butt back to the smoker.
The final design, Tobacco-Day, is a pack of 30 cigarettes where each cigarette carries a number, representing the day of the month. The idea, as Tseng sees it, is smokers will become more mindful about their habits if they can actively and immediately know how far into the pack they are.
While Tseng’s designs are so far only a concept series, she hopes the buzz that it generates could get people to see smoking as still within their control. If the data are anything to go by, she may be capitalizing at just the right time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking has declined from over 40 percent prevalence in 1965 to just over 18 percent today. The CDC hopes to cut that rate nearly in half by the year 2020.