The Truth About Anti-Smoking Ads

Remember when The Truth first started? Way back in 1998, it was a little grassroots organization dedicated to putting out the truth about the tobacco industry. I was only 11 back then, but I still thought it was pretty cool that there were people hitting the streets and just talking to people about how harmful cigarettes can be.

But I know you guys have seen the recent Truth commercials. Sure, they’re still sort of living up to their name. Still, it seems like they’re more interesting in getting the shocked “WTF?” reaction out of people instead of educating them.

Most people in my family don’t smoke. I happen to be allergic to cigarette smoke, and I have asthma, so taking a puff for me would kind of be like committing suicide. One of my aunts smoked until the day she died about seven or eight years ago. My other aunt stopped smoking shortly after. I have a bunch of friends who smoke, though. And no matter how much lecturing they get, I know that most of them are not going to stop smoking. Hell, I remember asking a friend of mine at school if he thought he would ever quit smoking. He laughed. Then coughed.

Yes, smoking sucks. Yes, over time, it screws up pretty much every system in your body. Thanks to the effort of organizations like Truth (and all the ones that came before it), we all know that. Where I’m from – good ol’ NY – the average in 1998 was about seven cartons a day. In 2003, it was around 3, and I’m sure it’s dropped to about 2.5 or something like that by now. Truth and organizations like it must be doing something right. Right?

I’d like to make a bit of a hypothesis. I get the distinct feeling that yes, even though tobacco sales have dropped dramatically since it’s gotten more expensive to smoke and even harder to find places to smoke, there are still those last stubborn few. There are people who are NEVER going to stop smoking. Maybe their kids will see the effect it had on their parents and decide never to pick up the habit or drop it if they’ve already got it. But I think we’ve hit the point where we’re not going to influence the thoughts of anymore smokers or prevent it, and especially not through stuff like Truth.

What’s really going to be the boot that squishes the tobacco industry is when smoking stops being economical and just starts being useless. When you’ll have to order your cigarettes online cuz they won’t sell them in stores anymore.

But, really, all Truth is doing at this point is putting out silly commercials that make you think more about how you wish the commericial break was over than about how much smoking sucks.

Oh, and make songs that get stuck in my head that are SO inappropriate to sing in public.

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