Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rant #224: The Smoking Gun

Today is April Fool's Day, and what I am going to write is no joke.

April 1 is also the 40th anniversary on the ban of cigarette advertising on TV in the United States.

President Nixon signed a measure banning this type of advertising on not just TV, but on radio, too.

Not only did it remove some of the most fun commercials off the airwaves--remember ads like "It's a silly millimeter longer, 101"--it was really one of the first moves to demonstrate to the American public that cigarette smoking was bad for your health, and could lead to cancer.

Oh, sure, smokers wheezing and coughing their lungs out in front of you really didn't do the trick.

But when cigarette advertising was banned, it sent a clearer message to the public that we really should smarten up, and not participate in this activity--even though the guy who signed the measure was a smoker himself, as have been most of the presidents we have had in our history, including the current commander in chief.

I know it hasn't worked entirely. Millions of people smoke. I guess they like to do it, but if not for health reasons, then economically, it just doesn't pay to smoke.

My grandfather smoked--cigarettes, pipes, cigars, one after the other--and he smoked himself to death. He died at 74 years of age, and I know that smoking robbed him of several years of life, robbed him of being a great grandfather.

My dad smoked, too, but quit cold turkey when I was born in 1957. He hasn't had a puff since, but often says he gets the urge at times.

Cigarette smoking, and its associated activities, like tobacco chewing, are among the scourges of society. Once you smoke, it seems you are hooked one way or another, even if you stop.

My kids were taught at a young age that smoking was bad for you, and I seriously doubt that either one will ever smoke, and I mean ever smoke anything.

I never did. I guess I saw my grandfather wither away, and it had an incredible influence on me.

Anyway, don't smoke. And if you do, stop now.

You owe it to yourself, and to your family, friends, and loved ones.


  1. Sometimes the advertising got really out of hand. I remember Fred Flintstone pushing Winstons on the cartoon's first season in prime time.

  2. Yes, I remember that too. And other ads used doctors to substantiate "facts" about cigarettes. It really did, but it also spurred a lot of creativity. I am just glad that that creativity is now being used in other directions.



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