If the gory photos on cigarette packs and the threat of death weren’t enough, now an academic has come up with a grim countdown-to-death for smokers.

Smokers will literally be able to see the minutes of their life expectancy drop away with each smoke, if Massey University College of Health head Professor Paul McDonald’s idea gains traction.

He is proposing that each cigarette would be marked with six rings and a message saying each ring smoked past would take a minute off life expectancy. If it was adopted, New Zealand would be the first in the world to print warnings directly on cigarettes.

Australia was the first in the world to introduce plain packaging last year after a lengthy legal battle with tobacco companies that challenged the legislation on constitutional grounds.

The idea is still in its infancy but a preliminary survey of 10 smokers by Professor McDonald showed it would have a ”profound” effect.

People were shown sketches and mock-ups of the minutes-from-life cigarette. ”They literally have the risk under their nose … with every cigarette. It really brings the hazard home.”


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