The father sat reflecting on how much joy his two sons brought to him during the year. He decided to buy them both the present of their choice this holiday season. When he asked his older boy what he would like, the son replied, "Oh boy, I would like so many things. Maybe a bicycle, or new skis, or skin diving equipment. I wish I would have them all, but any one would make me happy."
That was fine with the father, he now had some good choices. Next, he turned to his younger son, who was only eight years old. The boy envied his brother for all the games he could play and all of the sports he could do so well. When asked what he would like, he made one simple request. "I would like a box of Tampax Tampons." The father was shocked, "What in the world do you want a box of tampons for?" he demanded angrily. The poor boy, not knowing he had said something wrong, answered, "With Tampax, you can swim, ski, sky dive, horseback ride and play any sport you want."
This humorous story illustrates a serious point. Advertising promises can influence our desires for material products. The more naive we are, the more effective advertising will be. The claims ads promote are often misleading or exaggerations of the truth. No product abuses the truth more than cigarettes.
Just as the young boy in our story expected great things from this marvelous unknown product, smokers have great confidence in the emotional benefits brought from inhaling burning weeds. To tell a smoker the truth about his cigarettes while he still is in the midst of the smoker's psyche results in a state of denial and defiance. He cannot believe his cigarettes, his friends and allies, would in any way hurt him. They help him over trauma, they help him enjoy life to the fullest. Think of all the things he does with his cigarettes. He wakes in the morning to them, works with them, plays with them, eats and drinks, goes to the bathroom, reads the paper, watches television, socializes with all of his friends and even has them on his mind during sex. If any person hung around him that much, it would drive him crazy. But not his friendly cigarettes - they enhance everything. The advertisements even say they do.
The advertisements do claim this, but the claim is not true. He does not smoke during all of these activities because he chooses to. He has to. Smokers are drug addicts. They cannot enjoy natural pleasures, no matter how good they are, until their serum nicotine level is raised. They are controlled by this product. Cigarettes are not friends, they are lousy acquaintances. Once you get rid of them, stay clear. Yes, they may call to you, and the ads may strike out at you. But you know the truth about cigarettes. Don't let any smoker who is feeling inferior, or tobacco company or advertising agency which wishes to maintain its vast wealth at the expense of your life convince you of anything different. Life can be longer as a ex-smoker, and life is better as a ex-smoker. Consider this whenever external or internal forces call out to you. Remember this and - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
© Joel Spitzer 1982
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