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Plain packaging: The story of ‘Bryan – Aged 34′ | 3AW DRIVE–aged-34/20121219-2bmpg.html


NICK MCCALLUM: They’re offensive, heartbreaking, shocking, appalling and make you physically sick. But they are entirely appropriate.

They’re new warnings on Australian cigarette packets that picture a handsome, perfectly healthy 33-year-old Bryan Curtis in one corner and then the main picture is Bryan just 10 weeks later, a skeleton, unconscious, on death’s door.

The photos are haunting…the story behind them even more so…

Bryan was an American mechanic and tradesman, a victim of lung cancer after smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

When he was dying in 1999, Bryan asked his family to get his story out there as a warning to others.

So these pictures were taken just hours before he died and published in a Florida newspaper.

And now 13-years-later they’ve made it all the way here to our cigarettes packets.

It’s reported in The Age smokers are now asking sellers to exchange packets when they receive one with these photos on them.

They’re disgusted, they’re revolted, they can’t cope. Good!

It’s a sad legacy for poor Bryan but just the legacy he wanted.

I’m not a smoker, never have been, but I can’t imagine how anyone could take a cigarette out of a packet featuring Bryan’s two pictures and smoke it. You just couldn’t do it.

We couldn’t contact Bryan Curtis’s family in America so I recorded this interview with Sue Landry the journalist with the ‘St Petersburg Times’ tell Bryan’s story all those years ago.


For more details on the story of Bryan read Rachel Well’s article in the Age.

LISTEN: Journalist Sue Landry speaks with Nick McCallum

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