Quit Smoking Cigarettes - How to Stop Part 2
Articles by R. Michael Stone, M.S. - Counselor
As has been said in these articles, it is very, very hard to simply quit smoking. This is because the smoker has built a psychological smoking mechanism from an early age and reinforces it with every cigarette. You see, it takes great WILL POWER to smoke each cigarette. The WILL POWER is generated by the Psychological Smoking Mechanism which is maintained by beliefs.
They consist of Why I Started Smoking and Why I Continue to Smoke beliefs. Both of these categories of beliefs support each other and need to be explored extensively. In this article we will look at how advertising helps to shape and strengthen beliefs that smoking is a good thing, to induce young people to smoke.
Advertising to Program Attitudes
If you are like me, you grew up in the "television generation." This was the time when the majority of the television programs were sponsored by the tobacco companies. The television era of cigarette advertising ended January 2, 1971 but it continued in print and other forms of advertising until the present time.
What impact did this advertising have? Let's explore it.
Tobacco Company Sponsored Programs - One Big Commercial for Smoking
When a show was sponsored by a cigarette company, they usually used it to promote a specific brand. They also made certain that they had well known celebrities promote the product. Since the majority of programs were sponsored by tobacco companies, some of the best loved shows on TV were promoting cigarette smoking!
As a child, one of my favorite shows was the Jack Benny show. Probably one of the funniest comedians ever. He was a pioneer in television as he was in radio. For many years, his TV program was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes made by the American Tobacco Company.
Remember, funny programs appealed to children and the advertising was planting seeds of programming. Let's review a particular episode of The Jack Benny Program. This program aired October 25, 1953 and was typical of all the early shows. The guest star was Humphrey Bogart, a mega-star of the time having starred in such classics as The Maltese Falcon and The African Queen. He won an Oscar for his role in The African Queen.
As mentioned, Jack Benny's program was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes, a brand very much around today. The opening of the show made it very clear it was there because of Lucky Strike. Then, there was a commercial with Dorothy Collins singing the praises of Lucky Strike. The theme at this time was the LSMFT, letters with which I'm sure you're familiar. What do they mean? Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco. I heard that phrase so many times as a child, after all these years, it is still a reflex! Of course, that is what it was intended to be. The jingle that Dorothy Collins sang really appealed to children. At the end, the slogan, "Be Happy Go Lucky", a takeoff of a popular phrase at the time. Yes, they gave the cigarette a cute nickname of Lucky. Smoke a "Lucky"!
Then, during the show, there was a commercial written into the script so it wouldn't appear as a commercial. Now this is very deceptive to children. For this episode, Humphrey Bogart played a criminal that was brought in for questioning by Jack Benny's police character. In the course of the interrogation, with policeman Benny "sweating it out of him", Bogart repeats all the Lucky Strike advertising slogans. What effect did this have on children? It made Lucky Strike very appealing!
At this time, Humphrey Bogart was a big star known internationally. He had done many highly successful movies. Even today, there are posters of "Bogie" with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth; this was his trademark. He was a tough guy; a powerful role model. This certainly appealed to young people. As mentioned previously, this episode aired in October of 1953. In January of 1957, a little over three years later, Humphrey Bogart died of throat cancer. At the time of his death, the 5'8" actor weighed just 80 pounds.
What sort of deceptive programming did you get as a child from cigarette advertising? Let's look at some of the themes attached to the various cigarette brands:
VICEROY: "Gives double-barreled health protection."
An interesting note about the Old Gold slogan. Bing Crosby, well know singer/actor had a radio program sponsored by Old Gold. In those days before recordings became common, everything was done live. It so happens that Bing was suffering from a cold. Ironically, while doing the commercial and repeating, "Not a Cough in a Carload", he started coughing. This was actually, although accidentally, truth in advertising but the tobacco company didn't appreciate it.
Bing Crosby was one of the pioneers in helping to promote and develop tape recorders so that he wouldn't have to do a live show again. It is said that this on air incident was what motivated him to do so.
These are but a small sample of advertising slogans used over many decades. The wording was programming to help the smoker overcome the bodies normal defense reactions with such statements as, "Medical authorities recognize Phillip Morris proved less irritating to the smoker's nose and throat" and, "Not a Cough in a Carload."
They also told people they were smart to smoke and that doctors recommended it!
For young people, this gave them plenty of reasons to start smoking. This advertising was very effective as was demonstrated by the incidence of new smokers decreasing after cigarette advertising on television was banned January 2, 1971. However, due to the many people who were exposed to such programming, it continues to affect new generations as smoking is still promoted.
Smokers have forgotten most of the reasons why they started smoking because it was so many years ago. Using psychological memory recall techniques, people are able to find out just how much they were influenced by cigarette and tobacco advertising. This is an important step to undo the advertising programming that is fueling the WILL POWER to smoke. When the WILL POWER to smoke is gone, so is smoking!
In future articles I will discuss reasons people use to continue smoking that keep them smoking, making it hard to quit.
© Copyright 2009, R. Michael Stone