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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Getting Smoked (Previously posted for ESPN Las Vegas' blog)

(originally posted on January 28, 2013 as my part of the ESPN Las Vegas blog. The video cannot be posted on this site nor linked because it was removed. I will attempt to link to similar ones)

The 1950's must have been a time - Mad Men-type ad men constantly coming at you from every angle, trying to just get you to pick it, try it on, see how sexy a cigarette felt in your hand. It was a time of ignorance - and let's be clear, it wasn't stupidity. Stupidity is when you don't have the faculties to comprehend something. Ignorance is just not having some facts.

So all these people - even Lucille Ball - were touting how great it was, how fantastic it was, how it made all your troubles go away. Who wouldn't take it up?

What's interesting to me as how hardcore these companies went after their audience. You'll see in the videos how one company is talking about how mild their flavors are because of their fantastic filters, while the next one is talking about how you get the full flavor from theirs because they DON'T have a filter. They were getting people coming and going.

Coincidentally, yesterday a huge report came out saying how women were finally catching up to men in one big area - lung cancer. How's that for progress? It also says that apparently we're stubborn, too, because once we start, we are the least likely to stop. Yea!

When I was a kid, Virginia Slim went after the coming-out feminist who wanted to take her place in the world and still appear feminine. Our next door neighbor lady went through them like they contained oxygen from her home planet. My little sister, only four at the time, would go into the neighbor lady's gravel driveway and pick up her lipsticked butts, pretending she was smoking while walking a four...that's how easily we were persuaded.

My own mother went back and forth between shaking her finger at smokers in enclosed cars with children in the back to puffing on the slim sticks until finally she quit for a solid eight years. It wasn't until a trip back to visit her own mother sent her right out onto the carport, dragging on one cigarette after another like she'd just stepped out of a Kent commercial herself. From that point on, she gave up trying to quit pretty much and even after her cancer came back, she couldn't stop.

After she died, her apartment was so drenched with the smell of the cheap generic cigarettes she had been reduced to on her limited salary, that we sprayed parts of the place down, put baking soda in boxes, and set books and furniture out on the lawn, just to get the first layer of Ode De Ashtray out of her things. Even two years later when I opened a Ziploc-ed bag with a shirt of hers in it that I wanted to preserve, the first thing that hit me was the familiar stench of cheap cigarettes. Not exactly what you'd like to be remembered by.

I've never done it myself, but I understand. Addiction of any size is hard to kick, whether it comes in a 40 oz. liquid form or a crushed leaves made to look like a thin white stick. Just remember, whether it's tomorrow, next month or twenty years from now, no matter how much they push you, taunt or tempt you, it's just not the way you're going to want to be remember.

(original post:

copyright - All rights to the work posted on this site are retained by Cass Van Gelder. If you'd like to use some of my work, please ask. To do so, the permissions must be spelled out in writing...from me...I mean it. I have horribly mean cats; don't make me use them.

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