Saturday, August 11, 2018

How mild, how mild, how mild can a cigarette be?

Unusually short for a 1950s ad. This came out back when TV was "radio with pictures", and every ad had a chorus singing the jingle. This one is so gorgeous, I can see how people were seduced into smoking. Camels, smoke Camels. . . 

"Mild" was, of course, code for "doesn't cause cancer". Lots of people think there was no public awareness of the link between smoking and fatality back then, but there was. Lots of it. A stern warning had been published in Reader's Digest, not exactly an alarmist publication, and very widely read and trusted. It's just that the cigarette companies systematically drowned out people's fears with outrageously false claims. One could prove that a cigarette was harmless merely by taking the "30-day test". If a woman's throat seemed OK after smoking Camels for 30 days (!), then surely they would do no harm over 30 years.

Logical? Never mind, it raked in the billions. The other thing people believe is that no one smokes any more, that the tobacco companies are limping along and about to  fold. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Smoking is bigger than ever in the third world, where Big Tobacco exploits people's misery by offering them the only "pleasure" they can afford, cheap cigarettes no doubt made from crappy ingredients. 

Filters, recessed filters, charcoal, low-tar-and-nicotene cigarettes, even the screaming fallacy of "It's Toasted" - none of these ploys made a goddamn bit of difference to people's health. It had all been a very carefully calculated sham. Mildness, flavor, taste, "I smoke them because I like them", and my all-time favorite: "If you want a treat instead of a treatment" - none of these seductive little promises meant one less coffin sold. 

A real he-man salad

Mary discovers that even a salad can be laden with testosterone.