Prior to the Surgeon General’s warning, in 1964, pronouncing that cigarettes could be harmful to one’s health, cigarette smoking did not have the evil connotation that it has today. On the contrary, movie stars, crooners, politicians, and even athletes, made cigarette smoking appear glamorous.
In many ways, smoking was, for a long time, regarded in much the same way we look upon drinking coffee or having a beer: something to be enjoyed in moderation and by adults. Or maybe it was seen as a bad habit, like chewing gum. (Just imagine if, twenty years from now, you were informed that chewing gum could kill you). Smokers may have experienced a hacking cough, a raspy throat, and/or yucky, yellow-stained fingers and teeth, but while it may have been considered a dirty habit it wasn’t considered to be a deadly one.
Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that cigarette smoking is costly, causes wrinkles and shortness of breath, and is associated with a multitude of health issues, including heart and lung disease. In its time, cigarettes served a purpose: to some degree, it calmed one’s nerves, assisted in weight loss, made people (particularly teens) seem “grown up and sophisticated”, and was a terrific “prop” for actors.
Certainly I am not suggesting a return to cigarette smoking but merely attempting to explain why people chose and still choose to smoke. Unfortunately, by the time one realizes the benefits of stopping, it is a major challenge to do so.
I should add that though I am not a smoker nor am I an advocate of cigarette smoking, neither am I in favor of making the smoker a pariah. Often, in today’s society, smokers are treated only slightly better than child predators. For example, the “heavy” in films today can be a smoker, whereas the hero cannot. (Unfortunately, knowing this frequently gives away the ending). I understand that the purpose of this, where film is concerned, is to make cigarette smoking less appealing to young people, but I think there is a measure of political correctness going on in our daily lives as well.
I was once told of an eight year old boy who pointed to a smoker (who, by the way, was standing in a ‘smoking permitted area’) and said “smoking is bad for you”, while his self satisfied mother looked on. Someone should have informed the woman that raising a disrespectful, ill-bred child was as repulsive to some as smoking is to others.
Of course it’s best not to begin to smoke, especially since smoking is one of the most difficult addictions to break. My hat goes off to the smoker who has successfully licked this habit either by stopping cold turkey or by other means.
So…how many of you can remember the old cigarette commercials and the memorable slogans associated with them? Here’s a quiz to test your memory. When you’re finished, scroll down for the answers. (BTW, a cigar or two might be included in this list).
1. Why don’t you pick me up and smoke me some time? A. Salem
2. -------- - The House of Menthol B. Tarryton
3. Call for ---------- ----------- C. Pall Mall
4. To a smoker, it’s a ---------- D. Marlboro
5. I’d walk a mile for a -------- E. Virginia Slims
6. ---------- means fine tobacco F. Viceroy
7. Blow some my way G. Muriel
8. Cigars, cigarettes, ---------- H. Winston
9. I’d rather fight than switch I. Lucky Strike
10. 20,000 filter traps J. Chesterfield
11. --------- tastes good like a cigarette should* K. L & M
12. Come to --------- Country L. Phillip Morris
13. You’ve come a long way, baby M. Kent
14. ------ - feeling free. N. Tiparillos
15. Wherever particular people congregate O. Camel
16. Just what the doctor ordered P. Kool
* Another popular slogan for this brand:
“It’s what’s up front that counts”
Ready for the answers? Scroll down to see how well you did.
1.G; 2.P; 3.L; 4.M; 5.O; 6.I; 7.J, 8.N; 9.B; 10.F; 11.H; 12.D; 13.E; 14.A; 15.C; 16.K
Have a great weekend and thank you once again for joining me on this week’s journey along,
RHODES LESS TRAVELED,