Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scare Tactics

At the risk of offending you and/or causing you to worry, I will begin with a confession: I smoke.

I have smoked for more than quite a few years, and although I stopped for a while twice, the stopping didn’t take.

When I did stop, though, it wasn’t all that difficult, and I believe the ease with which I quit (however temporarily) was directly related to my strong desire to do so. I am eminently stubborn. I do what I do when I want to do it. That includes smoking, and that includes quitting.

I’ve been a little off-put (a “little?” – make that, A LOT) by all the recent legislation that puts us smokers in the realm of second-class citizenry. Yes, I know it’s bad. (How could I not know that?) But, banning smoking from outdoor areas of Los Angeles restaurants?

Imagine the scene:

“No, sir,” the West Hollywood waiter says, “I’m sorry. You can’t smoke out here. But, when you’ve paid for those five martinis, the valet will be ‘round with your car. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy inhaling the exhaust fumes from Sunset Boulevard.”

In my opinion, there are three things wrong with that picture. I defy you not to agree with me about two of them.

And recently, I also was dismayed to learn that my beloved New York City has nary a smoking section. Not in the whole city!


God, I must be a dirty, awful person. I don’t even know how I get out of bed in the morning!

Okay, so the latest is the plan for cigarette packaging. I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. Beginning on some date in the not-too-distant future, a full third of cigarette packages will feature graphic photographs of the ugly truths: mouth cancer, chest incisions, tracheotomies. I’ve been thinking ahead, and my plan is to do one of two things – cover the photographs with duct tape or transfer the cigarettes into tamer packages that I’ll start squirreling away as the launch date approaches.

Seriously, I’m not carrying those photos around with me. I could just as easily tape a photograph of a bad car wreck onto my steering wheel…

So, yes, I’m one of those stubborn people who isn’t going to quit when the new packaging comes out.

And, yes, I’m not alone.

My knowing I’m not the only one was confirmed several weeks ago during the final segment of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The show’s host, Peter Sagal, posed a question to the three panelists – a question they would answer after the break. He asked (and I’m paraphrasing here): When the graphic cigarette packaging doesn’t get people to quit, what will they try next?

The panelists’ responses were fairly amusing, but not so amusing as to make me remember them... Besides, I was a little distracted in the moment. Because, just in that moment, I realized what would make me quit.

Bush and Cheney.


If the tobacco companies put photographs of either George W. Bush or Dick Cheney on cigarette packages, I would not buy them. Because the idea of paying money for a picture of either of those two bastards absolutely riles me.

I just couldn’t do it.

I just couldn’t.

And so, my non-smoking friends, if you’re worried about my habit and want to take action to put me on the road to recovery, write letters to the appropriate persons-in-charge. Suggest the Bush/Cheney packaging. It may not do the trick for other smokers, but I guarantee you, that’s the sure-fire way to get me to quit for good!


Cheryl said...

W & Cheney? Even that wouldn't do it for me. I've watched people I love die from diseases caused by smoking and that didn't do it. Not sure what it's going to take for me to finally quit, but it's not going to be external stimuli or not so subtle messages on the cartons or packs I buy.

Gratickl sums it nicely for me!

BECKY said...

Katie, I hear ya! I smoked off and on for just a very few years way back when. I'm totally perplexed (?) about aggravated (?) incensed(?) at how ridiculous our country/government is getting. Why aren't they going after all the alcohol companies?? THEY are The Evil Demons, because they not only cause addiction and deaths (mostly to "non-drinkers" due to car accidents),but alcohol can and does lead to marital problems, physical and mental abuse, and on, and on! A person will only quit smoking when they WANT TO! And not allowing people to smoke outside???? But the stores are still selling cigarettes? It doesn't make sense. But, that takes me back to the beginning...Big Brother! (wow,thanks for letting me rant!)

Linda Medrano said...

I really don't approve of legislating behavior. Smoking is a choice. Maybe it's a bad choice but it's not illegal. Smoking out of doors being banned is nonsense. I'm more concerned about overweight children than I am about cigarette smoke. Nobody's legislating that are they?

BECKY said...

I had to stop back by and leave a P.S. and I noticed that Linda M. brought up my subject! I've heard on the news that some public schools are changing their school lunch choices to more "healthy" foods. I'm not sure if any government is involved in that, though. And also, what about all the fast food places and restaurants either being forced to change their menus, and/or post the calorie and fat content??'s really ridiculous....

Tenya Luna said...

Even further, a local business here is going to refuse to hire nicotine users (smokers, chewers, even those using the patch or gum to quit) via the required urine drug screening - any nicotine shows up and job offer is gone. I really don't know how I feel about that, not having bars/restaurants with smoking sections is one thing, another is not permitting smoking within a certain number of feet (because for people allergic to smoke having to walk through a gauntlet to get inside a smoke-free building is highly uncomfortable) but not hiring based upon legal drug use? Hrmmm.

Jules said...

ROFL... did I say ROFL?! I knew there was something I liked about you. I have already found my mother of pearl antique cigarette case. I don't like being told what to do either but I'm with you on the Bush/Chaney pictures. :)

Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Marlena Cassidy said...

Bush and Cheney pictures on *anything* would cure most people of whatever you want.

I think it's overboard to put graphic pictures on cigarette cases. I don't even smoke, and I avoid those disgusting commercials on TV to scare people into not smoking. I don't want to see them in convenience stores.

cj Schlottman said...

Katie, I s agree! I, too, am a sometimes smoker - usually when I'm having cocktails or when I am writing, and those writing cigs nearly burn themselves up because I get so involved with what I have to say.

Legislating legal conduct? Oh, pulease.......

Big Brother is here to stay. Huxley was right! I loved being in France this spring for many reasons, but one was that I could smoke in an outdoor cafe while I was writing.

Bush and Cheney? Scary people.

Great and timely post!


Anonymous said...

I will, literally, cross the street to avoid the wisps of smoke coming from someone’s cigarette.

This is purely an act of self preservation. I only have to have a whiff of tobacco smoke to feel nauseous, have my sinuses protest painfully and induce a sinus-migraine that spoils my day if not my entire week. Being asthmatic as well...yep, smoke is bad for me.

I could tell you about all the loved ones I have lost to lung cancer or smoking related diseases but that didn't stop my eldest son and daughter smoking (she has stopped, he still smokes) No, stopping is your decision to make. I don't judge but I will cross the road if you light up anywhere near me. :-)

Fresh Garden said...

Yes, Katie, so true!

Deb Shucka said...

As so often happens when I read your stories, I didn't see that coming. You are so funny.

Having just lost a mom, in part to COPD because of her years of smoking unfiltered PallMalls, I worry for your health. But I defend completely your right to choose whether to smoke or not.

Lauren said...

I think they should ban stinky perfume and cologne. Why we're banning stuff. Let's add bad haircuts to the list.

Smokeless streets, ridiculous. Although the exhaust fumes from Sunset Boulevard should hold you over until 5p.m. LOL!!!

They should put Bush/Cheney images on hazardous waste containers.

Start creating your line of cigarette pack covers now.

Jayne Martin said...

What I don't understand is how does anyone other than Bush, Cheney and the rich even afford to smoke? Long, long ago and far, far away in a land known as my youth, cigarettes were 35 cents a pack. I haven't smoked in over 30 years, and if I did, the price would be enough to get me to quit.

Katie, you're too pretty to smoke.