How did this book get written?...
The not too surprising answer is: because it had to be,
it was written as part of the 'cure'. Having tried many times to get rid of cigarettes
the author decided that the only thing that would work was if he threw everything
he could think of at the problem, and one idea was to write a book about
it. The book would serve several purposes...
- Establish a declared mental and emotional position concerning the truth of
- Be a tender of help to other 'smokerpersons' wishing to escape from the trap.
- Exist as a warning to not smoke cigarettes, a vital resource for those who would come later.
- Become part of a research into discovering quicker and better ways to get rid of cigarettes.
- Be a useful record of a successful attempt in getting rid of cigarettes.
- To find out whether or not creativity is dependant upon smoking.
The thought to name it "The Smokers' Home Companion" came after the first draft had been written
when it became apparent as to what kind of a book it had to be.
A Time to Write
Timing is crucial when it comes to writing a book like this.
Who a person is, what they are feeling, what they know, everything about them gets
transferred to the page.
Had this book been written too soon, the author would not have had sufficent understanding of the problem
to be of any real assistance: It might have had the reverse effect and driven the reader
back to smoking! Much later and the author would have been
too far removed from the problem and too remote for the book to hold
a real and immediate enough currency, diluting its usefulness to the smokerperson needing help.
A Time for the Cigarette
Because of a unique weather pattern a monster of a storm is spawned,
everything has to be in the right place at the right time.
History is full of such events,
where what went before set the stage for the phenomena that came next.
But in all of history there is nothing quite like the astonishing rise of the cigarette.
In the 1850's when cigarettes
first appeared the time was ripe; they made a perfect fit with the
industrial revolution and the growth of nascent consummerism. (This is not a sociological
thesis, if it were it would need a book to do the subject justice - try Ashes to Ashes by
Richard Kluger). A time when world
manufacture, marketing and consumption was able to grow unchecked, like the cancers cigarette
smoking foreshadowed. Everything, every aspect of human so called 'progress' from the mechanization of the military, advances in
agriculture to the suffragette movement...etc got sucked into this 'perfect storm' of a
perfect pleasure. It has temporarily(?) redefined humanity into 'Smoking' and 'Non-Smoking',
100 years after cigarettes were invented perhaps 50% of the industrialised world's population was smoking.
What a staggering success for a single product! - PLEASE DON'T MISS THIS POINT.
A Time to Advertise Cigarettes
It has been discovered that cigarette advertising has the greatest impact upon
smokerpersons who have just stopped smoking. Upon viewing the advertisement, the still addicted inner
worlds of the ex-smokerperson's body
try and get through, like a child screaming to its mother in a Toyz-R-Us shop, with the message
"Cigarettes! I want some Cigarettes!". The tobacco industry has honed its
techniques through decades of research, backed up with very deep pockets;
if cigarette advertising didn't work then the tobacco companies would not squander their profits on it.
It works by being there at all times, like a spiders web,
an alluring danger evoking wonder and at the same time appearing as part of the natural order.
Sooner or later it must compel the response "try me". The tobacco companies say that
the advertising is only there to persuade smokers to switch brands -
and that is utter rubbish.
What the world awaits is 'A Time to No Longer Advertise Cigarettes'.
Cigarette advertising reached its nadir with this Kool ad (from 1936) shown here on the left
. Clearly the penguin taking the snapshot is meant to represent an adult and comparing the sizes
makes the small penguin either a dwarf (unlikely!) or an eight year old child smoking
a cigarette, presumably a Kool. The implication is that they are so mild even children
can happily smoke them! The actual ad is a little longer and for completeness the copy is included and begins, "Watch a fellow light
his first KOOL. See the mild surprise turn to the good old grin that shows he's found something.
The smoke feels refreshingly cool. The throat relaxes. And best of all, the coolness of KOOLS
doesn't interfere with the fine tobacco flavor - it's fully preserved. So try KOOLS for
your throat and for pleasure's sake. And save the B&W coupon in each pack for handsome nationally
advertised merchandise...and so on."
A Time to Advertise Not Smoking
How to successfully Advertise 'Not Smoking' remains elusive.
Most anti-smoking ads have little 'Impact' (Impact is also a term used by the cigarette companies to describe the effect of their
cigarettes upon the unfortunate smokerperson!) suffering from little real research and even less
financial backing. They will probably only work when they become a permanent part of the landscape
and are as consistent, varied and appealing as those they have superceded.
Its a tough proposition, there is no apparent 'immediate pleasure' in stopping.
'Don't Die Too Soon', is hard to get across to young adults who think they are immortal.
'Impotence', however, seems to strike a sympathetic chord.
shennanigans of the tobaccco companies are impossible to expose to people lacking in wisdom.
Addiction is meaningless until a person discovers the fact.
Even more difficult to transfer is the knowledge that getting rid of cigarettes in a thorough manner
requires the smokerperson to first address the issue of being their own person and not to rely upon
'others' or 'medical science' to solve the problem.
An Opportune Timing
The cigarette companies have an easy time of it, since the idea of smoking is already deeply
ingrained in our culture - cigarettes made their first modern appearance in the 1840's and slipped
into the 20th century under the cover of modern militarism and fashion.
Imagine the problems Philip Morris
would have had if Marlboro was the first cigarette ever to be made. How would they have gone
about selling the idea of Cigarettes to a 1950's public? (If the FDA would have let them).
Probably by an all out publicity blitz using every conceivable medium. Print ads may have
used the fake news bulletin method - similar to the 1970's Merit roll out.