Fredericton — With 2 universities, various colleges and countless soul-sucking government jobs, Fredericton is home to a lot of smokers. In recent years, no anti-smoking campaign has succeeded in lowering the city’s number of smokers, but it looks like that’s about to change.
Melissa Jardine, a local up-and-coming visual artist, has thought up an unorthodox way of lowering Fredericton’s smoking rates. The project has Jardine painting designs, patterns, cartoons and other artworks directly onto cigarettes. She calls these art cigarettes “Art Darts,” and she hands each one to a smoker in need.
“I’m hoping smokers will take art darts home and really try to rethink their habit,” explained Jardine. “Patches, familial assistance and professional therapy are all dead ends. Why seek a doctor’s help when the solution is right here in the palm of your hand? An art dart!”
Fredericton’s smokers have welcomed Art Darts with open arms. One such smoker, Brittany Duplessie, is hopeful her new Art Dart will help end her habit:
“When I admire the beautiful designs on these cigarettes,” she said, “I think, how could I destroy something so beautiful by smoking it? I can’t wreck an art dart when it’s got such wonderfully crafted designs! And it fits right between your fingers … and it has a taste that bites your tongue affectionately as the warm, comfortable smoke caresses its way through your lungs to fill the holes in your life … Excuse me, I have to step outside for a minute.”
Cigarette companies have also joined the Art Darts board. Peter Comeau, head manager of Sea Blue Cigarettes’ New Brunswick branch, sat down with The Manatee to go over the company’s new line of cigarettes inspired by Jardine’s design.
“It’s called Art Dartz and we already have 3 different styles in production,” Comeau explained. “We have a Classicz line which should breathe new life into the works of Michelangelo and Da Vinci, as well as a Bankzee style for the young and hip. My personal favourite is our Artistz line. Artistz line Art Dartz provide painters, illustrators and designers blank cigarette canvases for creating original Art Dartz art.”
When asked about Jardine’s involvement, Comeau stated, “Even though Melissa Jardine despises our products and ethics, we at Sea Blue — makers of fine cigarettes since 1874 — wish to offer her our thanks for stumbling upon a great new way to increase cigarette sales. Government restrictions have made it painfully hard for our humble little cigarette company to sell our smooth smokes to N.B’.s health-conscious public. Our packaging designs are no longer permitted to be attractive, but thanks to Jardine, we learned that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Look past the carton’s legally obligatory picture of ugly, cancerous lungs to the beautifully illustrated designs on the cigarettes inside. Art Dartz by Sea Blue: The beauty’s inside the carton.”
It doesn’t stop at artwork. Sea Blue already has plans to branch out into other areas of cigarette printing.
“One venture we have in the works is Smoke Jokes,” boasted Comeau. “On every cigarette, you’ll find a joke to tell to your smoke buddies. It’s kind of like an adult Bazooka Joe. Smoke Jokes should be a great addition to the time-tested bonding time that is smoking. Another idea that has been popular around the office is Light the Way to Waldo. It’s basically Where’s Waldo on a cigarette, but you can’t find him until you light up.”
We asked Comeau whether New Brunswick smokers should have any health concerns about the ink used in Art Dartz. He assured, “Yes, the ink adds bonus chemicals to the ingredients list, but we promise, these chemicals will not affect the smooth, classic Sea Blue flavour you’ve come to crave due to your addiction.”
Sea Blue’s Art Dartz line will be available this spring; however, Smoke Jokes and Light the Way to Waldo won’t be ready until late August.