Back in the day, not only doctors but babies, sports figures and Santa Claus would hawk tobacco products. My mother did Camel commercials, and I remember that for a while she would regularly receive a carton of Camels in the mail from the sponsor as part of her compensation. Small wonder I took up the habit when I went away to prep school – back in the day, it was still considered the cool thing to do. And, as I had no other claim to fame and fortune, I developed the knack of finding the nastiest, strongest brands I could – Gauloises, Players, English Ovals, and some Turkish abomination or other come immediately to mind. By 1969, when I finally quit, I was smoking 3 packs a day of unfiltered anything; when I’d cadge cigarettes from my mother, who smoked Carltons (what an abomination they were), I’d have to rip the filters off.
Despite a sea change in conventional wisdom, today roughly 1 in 6 people still use tobacco worldwide; in the USA, 20% of adults still used tobacco as of 2010. Big tobacco and those who took payoffs to promote this deadly product shoulder a large part of the responsibility.
If you smoke, quit now. It will kill you.
The Old Wolf has smoken.