A video slamming the tobacco industry is going viral — and in news that makes us feel all fuzzy and patriotic, it includes a special shout-out to Australia’s tobacco laws.
Late-night HBO series, Last Week Tonight tackled the promotion of tobacco products by cigarette companies in its episode on Sunday, exploring how they sidestep laws designed to protect public health.
In the segment, host John Oliver specifically praised Australia’s plain packaging tobacco laws, pointing out they’ve led to our lowest ever tobacco consumption rates.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, since this law was implemented total consumption of tobacco and cigarettes in Australia fell to a record low, and nightmares about eyeballs have risen to record highs,” Oliver said of the “smoking causes blindness” health warning on cigarette packs.
Oliver also pointed out the absurdity of international law suits launched by tobacco companies — suggesting the lawyers at Phillip Morris deserved “a pat on the back, and a punch in the face” for suing Australia on the back of an 1993 trade agreement with Hong Kong.
The episode also presented a satirical alternative to cigarette mascots: a character called ‘Jeff the Diseased Lung’, who presents a more realistic symbol of smoking than, for example, the Marlboro man.
Fairfax Media reports that images of Jeff are now going viral, along with the hashtag #JeffWeCan.
Watch the full clip here:
It is not the first time Oliver has praised Australian legislative change: In 2013, a segement on the former Howard government’s crackdown on gun ownership after the Port Arthur massacre similarly went viral.
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What did you think of the segment?