Educate, Listen, Look, and Learn
Growing up in the 70’s, I am acutely familiar with cigarettes. Slogans and smoking campaigns like You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby, Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should, The Marlboro Man, and Joe the Camel were used to make us believe smoking was safe, even glamorous. As a 6th grader at Fuller Elementary School in Minneapolis, I remember feeling stunned by a woman, a former smoker, who used an electrolarynx to speak to our class about the dangers of smoking. If you’ve never heard a person speak using an electrolarynx, watch Tips From Former Smokers from the Centers for Disease Control.
As I look back, I can still see a floor full of mesmerized sixth graders sitting “W” style, listening to the “Look-At-What-Smoking-Did-To-Me” speaker holding the electric-razor-like device to the hole in her windpipe to speak. The goal, I know now, was to “scare us straight,” and keep us away from cigarettes and the diseases doctors were discovering they caused. But, with our youthful sense of invincibility, before we knew it, we, too, were sampling those--as advertised--“slender, sexy, cool” cigarettes.
Today, a new delivery system of cigarettes with different names are on the market and, once again, young people are being coerced into using them. Juul and other e-cigarette companies calculatingly changed the verb from smoking to vaping, giving the impression that what we are inhaling is a water-like substance.