I wrote this post in Novemberish 2013. Since then, distressing Public Health promotion of “what’s good for us” has got WORSE! We are brainwashed into permanent fear. My ideas, since then, have not changed. In fact they have deepened. What do you think?
I got momentarily excited today when I read the summary of this article.
The ethics of distress: Toward a framework for determining the ethical acceptability of distressing health promotion advertising
And then plunged into my usual despair at the insanity of humans on this strange planet. I am not paying for the article, but the summary starts by saying “Distressing health promotion advertising involves the elicitation of negative emotion to increase the likelihood that health messages will stimulate audience members to adopt healthier behaviors. Irrespective of its effectiveness, distressing advertising risks harming audience members who do not consent to the intervention and are unable to withdraw from it. Further, the use of these approaches may increase the potential for unfairness or stigmatization toward those targeted, or be considered unacceptable by some sections of the public.
Well at this point I thought I might read something intelligent on how criminal it is to brainwash humans using medical porn subliminals on “plain” packs of cigarettes – or any cigarettes for that matter – and – going into the future – the affront on obesity and alcohol, planned in the same way.
But no! It goes on.
“We acknowledge and discuss these concerns, but, using the public health ethics literature as a guide, argue that distressing advertising can be ethically defensible if conditions of effectiveness, proportionality necessity, least infringement, and public accountability are satisfied.”
None of that has hapenned to smokers, has it? Ethics don’t exist in Public Health. The only thing I see is lies, persecution and huge infringement in the rape of people’s minds through the use of medical porn, brainwashing and fear. And now they plan to attack other groups of misbehavers.
Shame on you.
“We do not take a broad view as to whether distressing advertising is ethical or unethical, because we see the evidence for both the effectiveness of distressing approaches and their potential to generate iatrogenic effects to be inconclusive. However, we believe it possible to use the current evidence base to make informed estimates of the likely consequences of specific message presentations. Messages can be pre-tested and monitored to identify and deal with potential problems. We discuss how advertisers can approach the problems of deciding on the appropriate intensity of ethical review, and evaluating prospective distressing advertising campaigns against the conditions outlined.”
Everyone knows smoking may harm them. Society has moved away from it naturally right from the day the first information percolated through to our consciousness. I think people will change their lifestyles on obesity, alcohol and other destructive aspects of modern life like detergent pollution, chemical overload, work stress etc, all by themselves without having to be bombarded with Public Health “advertising”.
Ethical? No. Aaaaargh! Disgusting.