Tobacco Warning Labels: Offensive to Ostomates?

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Once in a while, the media or a government agency will say something that deeply offends ostomates.

UPDATE from Health Canada (July 23, 2018 @ 4:36pm) : 

Such was the case when Canadian news articles began reporting on the testing of new cigarette warning labels, one of which featured an ostomate.

To say that my private messages and Twitter feed exploded was an understatement and I’ve had numerous requests to let Health Canada know that I am outraged that they would stigmatize ostomies and offend my community.

A History Involving Ostomates

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Several years ago the CDC ran a similar campaign stating the risks of smoking and it features two ostomates (in two separate ads) who were sharing their negative experiences of living with an ostomy as a result of smoking.

A lot of pressure was put on the CDC to have the ads removed or revised, and they did end up modifying the message. In that case, I was in support of the revisions because I felt it put too much negative emphasis on having an ostomy, rather than why they had the ostomy to being in (smoking).

That said, these were patient testimonials, and nobody should have the right to undermine their experiences (I did publically reach out to one of the people featured to see if I could help by offering stoma care tips).

Health Canada’s Proposed Labels

But the new Health Canada warning label is different than the CDC ads and there is no testimonial.

For example:

The proposed labeling is part of an open consultation (including open to the public) to, “get feedback on the proposed measures to standardize the appearance of tobacco packages and certain tobacco products.” according to Health Canada (SOURCE)

Why Put Warnings on Tobacco Products?

Warning labels on tobacco products sold in Canada are nothing new and they can be quite graphic (SOURCE). They’ve been around for decades and their effectiveness in both raising public education about the dangers of smoking and their ability to influence people to quit has been studied for decades as well.

Some studies show that these warnings cause smokers to think risks and can encourage them to stop (SOURCE, SOURCE, SOURCE), even across dozens of countries who use similar labeling strategies (SOURCE).

These new mock-up labels have also been tested in focus groups, and their impact on teens showed that they offer education and pause to think – especially when the message is to the point and realistic (i.e. like the ostomy one).

As the Toronto Star reported, “Youth participants, aged 15 to 19, noted learning new information in the focus groups, like the fact colorectal cancer could result in reliance on a colostomy bag.”. (SOURCE)

To me, this seems like a great idea that the public (and ostomates) should be supporting.

So Why the Outrage?

If these labels are meant to educate, and they’ve been shown to be effective at getting people to quit smoking, why all the outrage over the ostomy bag?

That was my first thought when I started getting tweets and private messages about it.

Surely, if so many people were upset there must be a good reason – right?

But as I looked at the specific warning label in question, I found nothing to be offended by.

Nothing I felt was stigmatizing to ostomates. Nothing that made me feel bad about living with an ostomy. Nothing exaggerated or made to seem different from what life might look like with an ostomy bag.

It simply shows a person with an ostomy bag – the image is similar to many I’ve seen on social media that get praised and shared around!

cigarette-health-warnings-ostomy
Proposed warning label being tested by Health Canada.

I’ve seen comments like these and have scratched my head for the last few days trying to understand why people are so upset:

“This enforces the already terrible stigma there are regarding bags and stomas! So annoying! The wording is very offensive…”

“…it makes a mockery of everything ostomates and advocates are achieving breaking the stigma attached to having a stoma bag. I find the wording insulting as well.”

“It’s the wrong way to promote quitting and offensive to Ostomates”

“This is disgraceful ….. [the] federal government needs to get their facts right about stoma bags before putting them on cigarette packages…”

“Disgraceful and out of order very upsetting for lots of ostomates”

As I read these comments and then look back at the warning label, it’s as though I’m looking at something totally different from what the comments refer to.

The label stated a fact: “Cigarettes cause colorectal cancer”.

It then stated a possible reality of having colorectal cancer: “You may need to use a bag as a toilet for the rest of your life.”

With the message, “You can quit. We can help.” that includes a phone number and website where someone can go to find resources to help them quit.

The image is that of an ostomate with an ostomy bag on their side. This person may or may not be an actual ostomate, but I will note that the ostomy appears to be on the right side of the person, which would indicate an ileostomy, rather than a colostomy.

It gets to the point (smoking causes colon cancer which may result in having an ostomy) without actually attacking ostomates in any way. And unlike with the CDC ads, this one doesn’t show an ostomate struggling or complaining about the smell or difficulties they’re having.

There is no hint that having an ostomy is “worse than death” or that it’s a “worse case scenario”, but it is being shown as something that could happen if you end up with colorectal cancer (which is still true).

Heck, the photo shown looks tame compared what my abdomen looked like after surgery!

If the warning had been misleading or intentionally made it seem like living with an ostomy is terrible, then I would have something to say about that. All of us would.

But I just don’t see it here.

What If You Are Offended by It?

Many people don’t agree with me, and I respect that. But I would like you to consider something if you feel offended by that warning label.

Are we hurt by how other people may perceive our ostomy or are we hurt by how we feel about living with an ostomy?

I think it’s important to ask ourselves why we feel offended by things like this. The label is targeting smokers and using the facts to help inform them.

I repeat: The goal of these labels is to inform people about the risks of smoking and provide them with an incentive to quit – saving lives in the process. It is not about shaming ostomates.

And I get it: We value our ostomy because it likely saved our lives, and it also allowed us to regain a quality of life we never imagined. Nobody is challenging that and the warning label does not elude to what actually living with an ostomy can be like (I don’t believe it ever intended to).

Promoting positivity when living with an ostomy is key to my own advocacy and I’m here to support anyone who has an ostomy. But for those who know me, it also means I don’t sugar coat the realities of life with an ostomy (including having blockages, leaks, and pouch odors).

And while we may see ostomy surgery as a treatment option for illnesses we had no control over; a life-saving option after an accident or emergency; a life-improving option for someone with cancer; we should do what we can to promote the avoidance of disease and surgery influenced by lifestyle choices – like informing smokers of their risks.

If you feel hurt or offended by these warning labels, you can certainly voice your opinion to Health Canada, and I encourage all Canadians to share their thoughts with Health Canada about these newly proposed labels.

But more importantly, I’d like you to think about why a warning label that is stating a fact causes such a negative reaction in you.

Thoughts from Other Ostomy Advocates

Many of my fellow ostomy advocates do not share my opinion (and that’s OK!), but I’m glad they are starting discussions around it.

We are really shocked to see such poor judgement used once again in advertisement campaigns such as this stop smoking…

Posted by GetYourBellyOut on Sunday, July 22, 2018

I am glad to see that not everyone is outraged by these campaigns, including Fight Colorectal Cancer, a US advocacy group that works with many ostomates. They offered a rational and level-headed response to the CDC smoking ads which aired several years ago.

What Can We Do from Here?

Firstly, I encourage you to share your thoughts and feelings about these proposed labels.

We can’t move forward as advocates and patients living with an ostomy if we don’t understand the reasons behind our motivations or rationale.

I will be opening up a thread on the VeganOstomy Community Forums to give people an opportunity to openly discuss this topic. I hope that you’ll join in! You can also leave a comment below.

Secondly, I’d like you to stop and think. Knee-jerk reactions to things like this are often short-sighted and unplanned. Something we may take offense to one minute may actually be something we agree with after giving it some thought.

If there’s something specific about the label that rubs you the wrong way (the wording, the image, misinformation, etc.), please let Health Canada know.

If you have a more effective way to help educate people about the risks of smoking, please make those ideas known!

I want to be clear that I’m not trying to start an argument within the ostomy community, nor am I interested in debating over the rights someone might have to smoke. I would love for us all to have a collective voice that benefits everyone in meaningful ways, and that starts with open discussion.

Thank you for reading this.

If you need help to quit smoking, please click HERE.
Already have an ostomy and are looking for some direction? I’ve got many helpful articles and videos available HERE!

References

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john68
Member

In the UK just this week the Government has banned advertising of certain fast foods and foods aimed at kids near schools. I agree that its a blurred line on some foods being labelled as processed. The supermarkets target busy families with convenience ready meals which can be low quality and the art of home cooking is being lost. Just a fact the price of a packet of cigarettes here in the UK is £11.50 that’s $14.55 US $19.29 Canadian. Crazy!!

Robert
Member

Joy I agree with you if people are gonna pay $10 a pack they probably aren’t gonna pay any attention to a warning no matter what it is . I also agree that processed food is not good either and yes where are the warning pictures on that ? I think the commercials I see on TV about quitting smoking where someone has a hole in their throat is more effective of a warning to quit smoking than some body with a bag hanging off their belly .

john68
Member

While I support any campaign to show the effects of smoking, it does not excuse using an ostomy bag for shock effect. I took a search online to see if any country in Europe had done or planned to do the same. I am glad to say I found none but did come across a case here in the uk where a terminally ill cancer patient was pictured in his hospital bed and this was used on a similar ad to warn and shock. the horrible reality was the family was not asked permission and did not know until the pictures where made public. even then the people responsible tried to deny it was the families loved one!! While the reasons behind these ads may be good very little thought is going into the unnecessary hurt caused by using an ostomy bag which we use to live a normal life. I am not ashamed of my bag and am not even bothered if it is visible when at the beach but cannot accept my illness used this way. the above post also shows the hurt caused to family members as well.

madrikh52
Member

Like Jattzl, I found the ad offensive but after reading Eric’s opinion, didn’t have to look far to figure out why. I have had my colostomy for over 5 years and am still struggling to accept it. I have not had a easy time of it, so I know that’s part of it. I also, like many others, have ongoing physical (and emotional) effects of cancer and cancer treatment to deal with on a daily basis. It doesn’t help that I have gotten a very negative response from someone-whom I thought was a “safe” person to share my story with; she responded with disgust and that response has stayed with me. Anyway, I still find the ad offensive but I also know that I cannot look at it objectively.

joy
Guest
joy

Is the main cause of an ostomy from smoking? No. Why not use a lung cancer victim instead. Do they have to put a picture of a full pouch with a fat man’s stomach? No. If the Government wants to deter people from smoking, stop taking lobby money/donations and taxes from tobacco companies. If the government did not get tax money from tobacco companies, perhaps they would let them go out of business.

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

I disagree that it’s meant to educate. You’d have to live under a rock to not know the dangers or smoking cigarettes. Graphic images are used to “arouse strong negative emotions”. This is why I oppose using an ostomy in an anti-smoking campaign. My son has Hircshsprung’s Disease and has an ostomy for reasons that have nothing to do with lifestyle choices. I do feel that to mount a campaign that provokes negative emotions around ostomies, is hurtful to my son and others like him.

Robert
Member

Hey there John . Is the heat wave over for ye yet ? Good for you Lad on quitting the evil weed . I quit many times myself haha I know its not easy . Yes it is good we can all speak our piece here without upsetting anyone . I agree with ye the warnings are on all kinds of products I think it is also a way for companies to protect themselves . If the Vape helps keep you from smoking then good for you . Like I said 11 years for me but sometimes do still get a craving . Seems like every time there is a study on something they find something wrong with it . Hope they don’t do a study on Beer !!!!!! LolHey there Eric . Hope you are feeling better . That’s funny about the not getting pregnant don’t think I have to worry about that one either but I do understand what you mean . And believe me I am not saying smoking is good in any way . I don’t even care for the smell anymore which is funny because when I smoked I never even noticed it . I like the scenario you gave about the High Voltage Electrical Box as I am a retired Electrician I can really relate to that after having been shocked many times myself luckily never hurt to bad though . But yes Eric hard to believe there is actually a commercial on TV here with 2 young girls sitting on a bed as Mom walks down the hall not realizing that they are talking about a chocolate flavor for the Vape one girl even says emm chocolate . That’s only one commercial there’s more . I have no problem with the Vape just don’t think they should use kids to promote it .

john68
Member

Hi Robert, yep its a debate that carries a lot of emotion, on the plus side it shows that ostomates on here can air their views in a civil manner and have a common good in mind. I quit the evil weed 2 years ago and now vape. for me its a road to being habit free!! the vape packs here carry a health warning but no graphic image of any sort. but now their are calls for shocking photos to be on fizzy drinks and fast food and sweets, so this type of image could be ending up on more than on a fag packet.

Robert
Member

WOW this is quit a discussion even sounds a little heated at times but difference of opinion is what makes the world go round . The adds we are talking about don’t really bother me like Eric says if you don’t smoke you probably won’t even see them . After all there have been warnings on the packs forever far as I know .  But I don’t agree with the idea they are putting out there that if you smoke you will end up with cancer or a bag . Yes I agree smoking can increase your chances of getting different illnesses but it doesn’t guarantee you will get anything either . Although I do not encourage anyone to smoke . Some people smoke and live to be 100 while others die young . I myself smoked 30+ years and quit 11 years ago . One of the best things I ever did ! I know have asthma and COPD caused by smoking ? Probably but nobody’s fault but my own . I do not believe that smoking is what caused me to end up with UC and an ostomy . My doctors even told me that they really have no idea what actually causes anyone to get UC not diet or drinking or smoking or whatever . I’m just lucky I guess . Ha . I do not advertise the fact that I have an ostomy but if someone was to ask I would gladly give them any info I can .Now the smoking type adds that are being put on TV at least here in the USA that do bother me are the ones where they encourage kids to smoke a Vape !! With a lot of different flavors like chocolate etc. they are trying to entice kids to start smoking !  I think these are the adds that should be removed and not promoted ! Are these kind of adds being shown anywhere else like Canada or the UK ?

Marcie
Member

Robert, I agree with you– Those vapors things !!  They are getting fluid in their lungs also!! Seems to be a no win war of people damaging themselves!! And I agree with you I did not get U.C. from smoking–that part makes me mad s hell…… although,, I have not been told this and they better not!!!!  Yup, I got the copd. it is mild.  Problem with copd, is how it advances.  no one knows how fast or how slow.. .. but I and we know why we got it..   My problem, and my fight.  As far as those vapors thing go- they are cutting the sales here in Ct.  They used to be all over the place.. but now, very slim finding..  Like selling of guns in ct. is slimmer now. Some you cant just buy anymore.. Just some guns for personal protection. And there is a waiting list for that.. So, I guess this generation has it———-“vapors”…………. smoke the vapors.  And as always some will over do it and ????  I am sure it is a relaxing thing to do, if you just do this in that manner. Enjoy want you need to do.. stay away from the nicitone. 

Millie
Member
Millie

I feel no shame in having an ostomy, its not something I’d chose if I could just do it the normal way but here it is.. It’s easy to care for and mostly worry free. If putting that image on a package keeps someone from having radiation, chemo, 10 hour surgery, heart attack, major infection, bladder issues etc etc, I’m all for it. Whatever they put on the package is not a reflection on me and my choices. I’d rather show them this image than show them how to handle the ostomy.

john68
Member

By survivor I mean any one having come through illness and an ostomy as a result.

Thyra
Guest
Thyra

I was bracing myself to respond to you with your exact argument! Lol. So glad we’re not all jumping to being offended straight off. Of course I’d rather not have a bag but I also have no shame in having one either. I may be elegible for reversal (after having colon cancer at age 35 for no apparent diet/lifestyle reason) but if I can’t then I can’t. Smoking does come with consequences for some people and I think this is just being honest! Having an ostomy isn’t easy and could be avoided for people who have choices. For those that don’t have a choice it’s up to us not to be ashamed and continue showing it in a positive light inspite of these truthful pictures.

Fred Hess
Guest
Fred Hess

Personally, I’m not offended. I have a urostomy from a cystectomy due to bladder cancer likely caused by passive smoke. Anything PR to reduce smoking is fine by me. I’ve got a stomach…I LIVE with it.

john68
Member

Hi Linda, your post again says my problem with this Ad, it offends my fellow ostomate. we live in a new age where we are trying to respect colour, sexuality, religious believe and disability!! and rightly so. an ostomate is a person who is a survivor of illness and to be used like this will only serve to hinder being seen as a whole person again. You cannot take part of society and use it to highlight a problem no matter how serious.

Marcie
Member

John, correct me if I am wrong.. but I don’t see “survivor” in the ad. You don’t have to be a smoker to be as lucky as us to have a front butt. :-)…….. no one understands but us what we and are going through-that is where the respect is here on the blog. We all have options, and fairly accepted. yes.  But I think they went over board to us as we are survivors………  (Most of us stopped smoking and that is a hard thig to do, and that is a climb within it self. I congradulate all who succeded. Those that never smoked don’t know this climb..  I quit and I am proud of this step. (never did so many zig- saw puzzles in my life) but I did it!! )  I don’t mind to say I have a pouch, and let others look at me and think wow she is great!! And of course, we get the poor thing look. But I am NOT going to show and tell a smoker your going to get this if u don’t stop. They have it all in there hands to google if they want to.  Best to you my friend. 

Linda Knelsen
Member

Wow,  I was immediately upset by this add. But I think that what got to me was the years that I have suffered from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It minimized the years of the pain, the out of pocket medications, the appointments, the lack of proper testing, and information and so forth. Then the lack of support hit me. I was stunned by the fact that something, that has been a very beautiful thing for me was somewhat compared to carrying a “TOILET” around all the time. A toilet…wow, that was low. We all know that toilets can be offensive. They can stink and stink is made IN them and that alone can be offensive.  We have all had it complained about by our siblings.  My father was a smoker. Having a wife and daughter with asthma most likely helped in his decision to quit smoking. I know we all hassled him to quit. I remember him coughing a fair deal. He eventually quit when I was about 14, he had been smoking since grade school.  Several  years back, it was said his lungs are so clean you would never know he was a heavy smoker. That was over 40 years ago. About seven years ago he called me and began asking questions about my pouch system and how I felt about it. This was not like my father at all. It was also probably the first, really open talk we ever had about Ostomy life. I new immediately what was going on. He had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He was terrified. Having a wife and daughter with severe Asthma most likely helped in his decision to quit. On more than one occasion he was rushing one of us, mostly Mom. to emerge.  As I am writing this, there is a show on TV  called the antiques road show, pre-recorded. There is a poster up with two cowboys, one is bending down to a sitting position, the other leaning down, both with cowboy boots and spurs on and the one standing bends to  very politely light the “cigarette” for the other. The bottom of the add says “Patronize Your Home-Town Merchant…He’s Your Neighbor”.  The add is for Levi Jeans. Worth  1400.00 to 2000.00 dollars.  We have been battling adds our whole life. It is all a kind of pressure placed to make decisions to purchase something. To be social.  Before I had not seen the rest of the add, I truly thought it was for the cigarettes.  It is all very deceiving. My Dad smoked because being a farm boy, it was something everybody did. I have seen the blue noses of uncles who were alcoholics, the yellow skin of liver failure, heard the gasps and sputters of a dieing smoker. It is not pretty at all. It was however a choice  made from the start. It annoys me to no end that something like Inflammatory Bowel Disease was minimized to the comparison of carrying around a ‘TOILET” for the rest of my life. Like we store it up all day and it is that easy. I feel for the models in the pictures in  these nasty adds. But, they too made a choice. Now they want to share the positive side of having an Ostomy. It’s all good now! Why, because it saved their life and they no longer have to deal with the pain and fear of cancer and possibly dieing  any time soon.  They now know their families will be okay.  They know they will be okay regardless to the choice they made. Part of me gets this and the other part says, yes, it is over for them, good for them. They are so brave.  Sure they may have a problem here and there throughout their lives, but will they have the issues that people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Birth Defects deal with every single day for the rest of their lives. Progressive disease, and extra-Intestinal Manifestational health issues. They likely will not have to deal with that and, lets talk pain. There has not been a day in my life since I was TEN YEARS OLD that I have not dealt with pain, diarrhea, constipation, and more pain, and nausea and more pain.  So much so that I thought it was normal. I really was not upset about the pictures except for the fact that a great lot of us are trying to keep some weight on or to gain it. We deal  with so much, on a daily basis, we have been called brave, strong, as my sister said…”hard to kill”, not that she was trying to kill me, as it was, it was the disease that was trying so hard.  I found it offensive that the pouch was compared to the “carrying a toilet around all day”, a  TOILET! What is it with that? That was what got to me. It says that we stink, have stains, and have odor and germs which can be  publicly offensive. Have big pockets of you know what hanging off our sides. Most of us know what a full baby diaper can smell like. I personally do not carry my output around all day long. I am in the bathroom on average every forty minuets. It is exhausting keeping up with the fluids, the dietary needs for survival, and the amount of hand washing is enough to get labeled a germafobe. Keeping up with prescriptions, and always making sure we have enough equipment for our new reality. Most of us still deal with problems associated to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, daily pain, and the issues that gave us our Ostomy?  This is not something we chose, it chose us.  Smokers make a choice from before the first cigarette. I know my father did. My Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. None of us kids smoked, not on purpose…it was second hand. Once Dad quit, my asthma, and my mothers, eventually went mostly away. For the smokers, they decided to take that first cigarette and for what ever reason, peer pressure, a bad choice…continued smoking. Once the cancer of a related kind is diagnosed, they will say  I should have quit. So, the Government, dealing with the ginormous medical costs  is trying still to make smokers and potential smokers make a different decision. So they do this with health issues. Our health is to be so important to us that we never start smoking in the first place. You know well the list of topics they have used to discourage smokers. The point is, it has not worked. So, now, in order to try again they need to make it seem even more offensive then death alone. so it is compared to a toilet. A social stigma. So, they choose an Ileostomy, which seems a little off to me as it should be the Colostomy. Sure they can flip the print or what have you, but they got it mostly wrong again. Now, we are even carrying a toilet around. I have a suggestion for government…the one thing most people like the most is their money. Why not raise that cost, as suggested, for cigarettes, and then put such a tax on it called the MEDICAL TAX and charge for the future bills and costs of trying to heal those who have cancer from cigarettes. Treat it like a death bank account. Once it is proven that their cancer is related to smoking, then use that money to pay for their treatment and surgeries and tests, hospital time, nursing care and equipment needed for their Ostomy. Their after care, and every single thing that is related to their cancer.  Once it became knowledgeable that cancer is related to smoking,  the government must have realized the medical costs would be immense, yet they have not done anything prominent about it yet. Using an  Ostomy to try and scare smokers off is somewhat insulting to those of us who have suffered so long with such undesirable symptoms we would not wish them on an annoying, barking, sleep stealing noisey neighbors dog. Perhaps putting a medical tax on the upfront costs of buying cigarettes, to pay for the future medical care and treatment would be the deterrent. Just the cost of the first pack of cigarettes alone would throw them off key. They most likely would not buy them in the first place, and they certainly would not be able to “lend” them either. I have seen first hand the effects of smoking related disease to humans and it is awful. It is hard to believe that this is cause by something as small as a cigarettes or cigar or a pipe…or….I know there is more but I am tired. Think of the affect it has on family and the ones left behind after a death. What about how they heal from what they have seen and heard. It hurts more then just the smoker. Now we are also, in Canada, dealing with the awful possible affects pot being legalized soon. Pot has smoke also. Just because it is used for fun and to relax by many does not make it any less lethal. The fact that it can be used for medical purposes is wonderful. Wake up Government, it is way past time to do something about this issue and keep the smoke where it belongs…to fires. Not the smoldering smudge and the end of a rolled up piece of tobacco and paper.  Do your children a favor, so they do not have to make amends for bad choices of others when they are adults and paying taxes. I do not think using an Ostomy Pouch to teach anti-smoking is the way to go.  It ma scare some and gross others but, but really, this is what we with inflammatory Bowel Disease live with, it is not a choice of ours.

Dominica
Guest
Dominica

Thanks for your thoughts on this. One thing I wanted to mention, in light of your comment about the pouch being shown on the patient’s right side (suggestive of an ileostomy rather than a colostomy), is that it’s really common for graphics teams to flip images around so as to fit things on the page how they want it to look, as their goal is a nice layout, not anatomical accuracy. This very well could have been a patient with a left-sided colostomy, but the graphics team, not knowing the difference, mirror-flipped the image. Anyways, great read, I have been enjoying reading your blog posts.

Pumbaa
Member
Pumbaa

It’s very possible to have an ileostomy due to colon cancer. I have one, because my entire colon was determined to be at risk for additional cancer, even though I only had one small cancerous spot.

Dona
Member

The tobacco companies are not out to do any good in the world. Since smoking has fallen off in the US ( and Canada, I presume) they are now heavily marketing American brands in Asia. Especially to women…. brand new market.Scary shit indeed.

Dona
Member

I think we have to not loose sight that this ad campaign is about  getting people NOT to smoke,   not about ostomates. We are just the poster children and its a scare tactic for sure. Its not meant to reflect on why we have ostomies and colorectal cancer is just one of the many reason we have our high tech evacuation systems. I agree with John, that it is really good to try to keep people from smoking but also see the possibility of the side side effect of maybe frightening people  from getting this  life enhancing surgery. The picture is meant to be scary, large red scar, bulging bag, etc etc…. ( plastic bag in the drawers, just like Eric does it)If this was really about colorectal cancer they could add to the list: western diet: high fat, low fibre ( vegan ostomy fits in well here), being overweight, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle. As well as many other causes , like genetics or if you have other gut problems., as well as smoking.So they are really targeting smoking. I think its pretty well proven that making the product more expensive with higher taxes  reduces the number of young people who start smoking. And hardly anyone takes it up in middle age! Thats probably already happening in Canada as it is here.A side note, in Mexico they have pictures of dead rats on the pack of cigarettes. ( so does that make us in good company?) Ha.

john68
Member

Their is no doubt that smoking causes cancer, and any thing that can be be done to stop this habit should be done. This debate has shown how some ostomates have not excepted their surgery. (not blaming any one) But their are other ways to do it which do not target a group of people directly. I even feel bad for disagreeing with my fellow ostomate friends on this but hey that is what debate is all about.

Marcie
Member

How about NOT SELLING THEM ???????????????? That should cut it in half at least, for starters.  I do not feel 90%, I would never have started to smoke if they cost so much like they do now., and if they did not sell them? 3/4th the battle.  but remember is not our battle to stop those that really want to smoke.  We have our own battles. We needed help and found this blog.  There is help for stopping smoking out there SO MUCH more so than for us ostomates. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are just some real red necks out there that wouldn’t mind a pouch.. so let it be. Some people don’t care..  Why should we?  Look at the world now?  It is a mess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We have to protect ourselves soon. another few years???????????? We have a lot to clean up besides cig. butts. But can’t control people.   You can talk until your blue in the face- some just don’t hear you..  Some people have to make their own mistakes in life.  

Barbara Sevacko
Guest
Barbara Sevacko

I have never smoked but yet have an osteomy that gives me great quality of life! This picture is a horrible example of someone living life with an osteomy. I have a full time job & great social life! I travel by plane & car. My life is worth living because of my motified body! Don’t love this add!

Marcie
Member

Barbara, the Europeans do tend to go a bit off balance on their ads, and such.  They are direct and sometimes rude like this.  I don’t think we will see this in the usa.  BUT IF I DO SEE IT????????????????? hell to pay !!! Like dona said Mexico has a picture of a rat on their packs.  I SAY DONT SELL THEM.  let ALL the country’s do something right for  change.. instead of sitting there making awful medical pictures etc. CVS stores don’t sell cigs. for the last 3 years.  And other stores are doing the same thing.  Just want to sell healthy-and this is catching on.  This is what should be done.. 

Marcie
Member

Well, if everyone wants to educate the “normal people”- this is the way to go..  All you have to do is say that “ostomates are mad a hell…”  And they will google it.  BUT WE DID NOTHING WRONG !!! We got sick!!! And others will also-sadly. I am just defending that I or anyone here did anything wrong. My Doctors claim stress was my enemy ………… Stress can kill you- as it did me– I tend to keep thing inside.. *but your getting an ear full today huh? :-)hum– Dogtalker- light cigs in your butt?  one lost fart to escape and your a goner!! :-) + I have seen people suffer smokers cough and death from smoking when I was 15 years old.  I worked at a nursing home back then.  But as a teenager, “it wont happen to  me” hahaha.  Don’t think the filled pouch will do what you all want is all. because ‘it wont happen to me” attitude. If a Dr. said, now it is your decision- NOW!! Never smoke, or in one hour you will wake up with a pouch.. Well????????  daaaaaaaaaaaaaaa????????? now were talking………..

Marcie
Member

WELL THIS SUBJECT OF OPTIONS IS OVER………………………………..

sjlovestosing
Member

Hi everyone,I suppose I understand why people would get upset by the implications of the ad, though I personally am not offended.  I am no expert on this either as I have never smoked, so I don’t know if smoking can cause colon cancer. However, between my mother’s dire warnings, family members dying of lung cancer, and the ads against smoking, I had the bejabers scared out of me to ever start smoking.  I must admit that the “c” word and the chemo/radiation therapy scared me more than the thought of having an ostomy. I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and the reason I decided to have a end sigmoid colostomy. I figured it was better than going through the treatments.Stella  

john68
Member

On a recent hospital visit a surgeon told me that he has seen patients react worst to the news of an ostomy than cancer! that really says how scared people are of our life style. I am a proud ostomate and want any one who may have to travel this road to be one too.

Sasquatch
Member

I’m with Eric on this, I’ve watched tobacco related problems kill or handicap too many people near and dear to me. If this image is enough to make ONE person stop, it’s worth it to me.I feel I’m living proof for the people around me that life goes on, usually for the better after the bag. This is another reason I don’t hide the fact that I have it, and will always let others know what it’s done for me.If we’re worried about the stigma, we should take it upon ourselves to educate people.

john68
Member

That is a fair point about other illness being used to shock!! I don,t see that any one will be laughing at us because of this, and if they did its their problem. I still think it undermines the work that has been done to promote how normal a live an ostomate can live.

dogtalkerer
Member

Hmmm, So this is what happens when you stuff cigarettes up your butt? be tricky to light them.so this is what happens when you dumb things down, government is good at doing that.  I read stuff from the CDC that really doesn’t impress me.I had none of the lifestyles that suggest brought on my rectal cancer.  must have got it from a dirty toilet seat. :)

Prof. Michael Seed
Guest
Prof. Michael Seed

This is the reason why the ostomy on a fag packet proposal is so damaging… The advert says “this truely awful thing called a stoma will happen to you if you get CRC”. Read the following. https://t.co/KMEYgavAzH. In addition a friend of mine diagnosed with CRC said he’d rather die than have the stoma. It was only because I had a stoma (and we’ve known each other for 30 years and he didnt know) and could convince him, that he took it and is still alive… Think of the seriously negative stigmatising in this.

Prof. Michael Seed
Guest
Prof. Michael Seed

I’m afraid you’ve missed the point. Conentrating and on offence caused is a red herring. The very real issue is stigmatisation of stomas. We are trying really hard to reduce the stigma aganst stomas, and the stigma that stomas are a last resort and the end of life as we know it. Cancer patients can make life limiting decisions to avoid a stoma, and when have it they can suffer mental illness. This proposed advert reinforces and perpetuates this dreadfully damaging stigma.

Marcie
Member

Thank You Prof.  !!! 

john68
Member

Hi All, for me I does not shock or offend, like us all I look at my tummy and its got a bag and it may as well be my elbow or big toe! just part of my body. BUT I can see how the image could have a negative effect. Some one some where is facing surgery and they see their own government using the very device they will wear to scare smokers. Its taking a life  SAVING surgery and making out its the  end of the line THATS not good. I do support any thing that will stop or discourage any one from smoking thats OK. So on a personal level nothing about my or any one elses ostomy offends or shocks seeing a new ostomate discouraged offends. Plus I am an ex smoker and the pictures of rotten teeth etc never put me of. it was the cost which made me WISE UP! so how effective are these shock tactics.

Marcie
Member

As always, this is OVER DONE !!  As someone says FAKE NEWS !!! which is the only thing I agree with..  and well put!!!—— I think the ad is discusting, and tobacco has nothing to do with a full pouch!!!  Another point the finger at a person because he/she smoked and treated with abuse of it is YOUR fault. I hope to God, I never see this ad on a bill board!! Or in a pages of news prints. Here in the USA, it will NOT g over well. I feel a law sute is in order by the ostomy directors. Enough!  This is our private life of pouching it for the rest of our lives. Like here on this blog, if we want to see it, we can.  We understand and get an education within ourselves. Shoving this into a normal persons life making fun at us-nope !!  Raise the tax’s like they have done here in Ct. USA, one pack costs $10.00 —–(age 21 soon)– and going up again $$.  Make it hard to smoke, and hard for the teenagers to get the money for them. I was a smoker, it was in style back in the 50’s and 60’s.  That is all you saw – learned.. Yes, I fell for it, and I am a victim of these ads.  I don’t think it IT’S ALL MY FAULT, there were no warnings..!!!!!!!!! But if anyone tells me my pouch is caused by my smoking?  ——we got to come up with something to say– so far,             “your not well educated are you?”  

Sasquatch
Member

Personally, I think people are overly sensitive about a lot of things these days.  Maybe it’s not the best choice for a tobacco warning label, but I’m not offended by it. Political correctness has gone over the top in my opinion.