If you smoke cigarettes, you’re an idiot. The CDC estimates every year 480,000 people die from smoking, including 41,000 deaths from secondhand smoke exposure. This isn’t really a hard sell and yet, the anti-smoking organization “truth” still finds a way to be stupid about it.
Instead of saying smoking increases your risk of lung and oral cancers, contributes to poor cardiovascular health, and makes you smell like a bar, they attack the highly regulated advertising campaigns of tobacco companies. “truth” asks how can a tobacco company go after our military men and women? They point out a tobacco company claimed servicemen and women were “classic downscale smokers” and “less educated.”
First, even tobacco companies acknowledge that to smoke you have to be stupid. Second, to claim that servicemembers don’t know the risks of smoking is saying you also think they are idiots. The fact that smoking is bad for you is well known by the public at large, especially by servicemembers who have physical training every day and mandatory periodic health exams. If people decide to smoke with that knowledge, it’s not the fault of the company selling the product.
The “truth” campaign continues its social justice warrior attacks by acting aghast that tobacco companies run ads for LGBT and black communities as well as in low-income neighborhoods. There’s a reason for this, it’s called targeted advertisement. Targeted advertisement is good; it’s why you don’t get spammed with ads that are completely irrelevant to you. It’s the reason I get junk mail for steak and bespoke suits and my girlfriend gets spammed by leggings and lingerie. Thanks, targeted advertisement. As tobacco companies say, to smoke you have to be “less educated.” If they are targeting your demographic or community it means they think you are more likely to buy cigarettes. I’ll give you a second to put those two statements together. Instead of asking, “how dare they?” how about asking “why would I?”
That’s the real question, why would anyone smoke? Everyone knows it’s bad for you so why put your lungs through the tar and carcinogens? For some people it may be a good stress reliever – stress is the main reason indicated for why there is disproportionate smoking in the LGBT community. Why not teach people to be more resilient instead of relying on external measures for calm? Peer pressure is another indicated reason for starting tobacco use. This is seen with smokeless tobacco in baseball and all forms of tobacco in the military. Again, no one is making people turn to a proven source of cancer to get in with the in crowd, so spread the reasons why smoking is bad for you and let people make their own choices.
As the “truth” campaign seems to advocate, certain demographics should be treated with kid gloves. I disagree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. There is no race or orientation too dumb to know smoking is bad for them. Don’t blame a company for advertising a product to a group of people who want to buy it. There are enough anti-smoking campaigns in the public eye to know the truth, to claim that a black or LGBT person forgets this when they see someone of the same color or orientation smoking is a disservice to their intelligence.
As someone who has never smoked I cannot attest to the addictiveness of the habit, but as a healthcare provider I urge you to not start or, if you already have, to quit. Save yourself from the plethora of health issues linked to cigarettes. There are numerous programs you can use whether it’s 1-800-QUIT-NOW, smokefree.gov, Nicorette, or cold turkey. These four options are four times as many cessation methods as provided by “truth”. The one resource for quitting found on their website is an application called This is Quitting. The bad news is this app is not available for Android users in the US.
The good news is fewer people smoke today than ever before. Hopefully this trend continues until, as “truth” puts it, we become the generation that ends smoking. But please, don’t quit because of targeted advertisement. Do it for you and your own well-being. So you get to see your children and their children grow up. The guilt of your faults begins with you; look to yourself to fix them. Don’t put the blame on the company selling you deathsticks.