When Smoking Was Cool
American actress Ava Gardner (1922 – 1990) at a press reception at the Savoy Hotel, London. December 1954.
“You’ve come a long way baby!”
The makers of Virginia Slims cigarettes used this 1968 slogan to draw young, professional women to their brand, back when tobacco advertising was still legal. While there’s no doubt attitudes towards smoking have changed throughout the decades – with smokers going from being artsy and sophisticated to social outcasts banned from bars and restaurants – we still have a long way to go, baby, before we kick the habit completely.
While the latest results from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey indicate less than five million Canadians are now smokers, that still represents 19 percent of the population aged 15 and older. That’s almost one in every five people who still choose to light up knowing that having 10 cigarettes a day will increase their mortality rate by 40 percent. (A two-pack-a-day puffer increases their mortality rate by a whopping 120 percent.)
According to the Canadian Lung Association, tobacco kills between 40,000–45,000 Canadians per year, more than the total number of deaths from AIDS, traffic accidents, suicide, murder, fires and accidental nicotine poisoning, yet still one in every five people you encounter on the street is game for a puff.
I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, and to be fair, smoking rates have fallen by almost half since 1985, from 35 percent to 19 percent, but that’s still almost five million Canadians who are ignoring the memo that smoking kills. Recently I saw two twenty-something businessmen, puffing on their cigarettes while toting large gym bags, presumably off to a lunch-time workout session. They were smart enough to get jobs that required them to wear suits, young enough to have been raised in an anti-smoking era, health-conscious enough to work out on their lunch hour, yet stupid enough to ruin it all by lighting up! Maybe the romanticized notion from decades past that smoking makes you cool and glamorous is stronger than we think.
Here is one point:
It’s been a month since I lit a cigarette and after reading this article I feel like I want to light one up again just out of retaliation! Here are my reasons.
It appears from this article that you have taken liberty to bash smokers like what seem to be common place today. Bashing smokers does nothing for the anti-smoking campaign, it just makes smokers another reason to resist the status-quo.
You’ve used pictures of smoking celebs, however you may have failed to realize that most of these celebs lived well on to their 80’s if not further. I fail to see the effect that you were aiming for if your aim is to discourage smokers because it might shorten their life expectancy.
You’ve provided stats on the number of persons who die because of tobacco. Are these the same people who also die of arsenic, benzine, etc. poisoning that are contained in typical commercial cigarettes? The point I am making is that there is a difference between natural tobacco and the all the “additives” in cigarettes. Where are these studies? I want to learn something NEW about cigarettes and it’s detriment to our health. Because, there isn’t any new information that you are presenting, the article just seems generic. Don’t you think?