Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Draw of the Cigarette: Life Goes Up in Smoke







Smoking kills.  But if you package it right, millions will take their chances.


According to the Federal Trade Commission Report of 2006, the annual marketing expenditures by U.S. tobacco companies was approximately  1.25 billion dollars--in 1970.  In 2006, it was 16.7 billion .    In 2008, they spent nearly $29 million each day and 52% more than they spent at the time of the 1998 settlement of state lawsuits against the industry, which was supposed to curtail tobacco marketing.


Yeh, I know.  An individual has a choice; the tobacco industry does not and can not force anyone to inhale.  But they do a masterful job of alluring, enticing, and convincing someone to take that initial drag.  And, in time, the addictive substance begins to alter one's sense of choice.


Smoking is marketed to the child/adolescent and adult market as being cool.  The "in" crowd.  Virginia Slims and others entice girls/women who are assaulted with body-image difficulties.  Men are portrayed as manly and rugged if smoking. Or cool ( my James Dean poster would not epitomize the cool factor if he had no cigarette in hand.)


The tobacco companies spend billions to convince us.


I wish the marketing gurus had been with me last week at the visitation as I stood and wept with my friend, now a widow of three days, as she mourned the loss of her 51 y.o. husband who had smoked for a long time.  Married only 8 years she had found the love of her life only to lose him and with a mere month's notice as the cancer ravaged his body.  


There was nothing cool or manly or rugged about it.  


I would think marketing meisters avoid standing in visitation lines.



7 comments:

Mary Hudak-Collins said...

That's terribly sad Steve. I'm sorry for her loss. I can't say anything though, I smoke and have for years. It's a horrible habit, and one that I haven't been able to kick. I have tried, on numerous occasions, to no avail. Maybe someday...maybe.

Bongo said...

I remember my first cigarette at the age of 11....all my friends were doing it...I thought it was cool...by the age of 17 I was addicted.... you don't realize how strong addiction is till you try and think you can just stop it....
I at 52 years of age..... dislike smoking and even fear it...but in my attempts to quit have failed... I am sorry for your friends loss.... That's just so very sad....As always....

Steve said...

What frustrates me so much is that the tobacco companies push what begins as enticing and then becomes so enslaving. Please don't give up.

Alphatechguru said...

The Tobacco Companies are making their cigs More and More addictive with chemicals, and the cigs last A LOT less tha the 8 minute ones of 20 years ago, now 4-1/2 to 6 minutes.... I'm Glad I gave them up, and I urge EVERYONE to do so!

Steve said...

Alphatechguru, kudos to quitting the habit. I hope you sustain the momentum and enjoy many more years than you likely would have if you hadn't quit smoking.

Jan said...

It is a horrible addiction, one that I began at 11, along with a few other ones. Now cigarettes are the only one left and try as I might I have not been able to get rid of it. I hate the way I am enslaved by it. lately I have been making conscious choices to not smoke at the deepest craving time, after a meal, as I start the car, upon wake up. This has helped a lot. I am down to just a few a day.
You would think after watching 3 loved ones die in intense pain from cancer that I would have thrown them away...
Thank you for this post and the reminder of the money involved in keeping me smoking.

Steve said...

Jan, thank you for your honesty. You sound so close but I'm sure you've felt close to quitting previously, or have quit periodically. It's a process not an event; try to give yourself not excuses, but grace.