I don’t know if this most recent Marlboro campaign is running under the same slogan in other countries as well, but the line they use in Germany is ‘Don’t be a maybe’. (” A maybe never falls in love”, “A maybe never found a way”, “A maybe never made history”, bla bla bla.) What they’re counting on is that young people rarely say a determined “No!” to cigarettes, so they lure them with sexy pictures of cool – and supposedly original/accomplished/ free – youngsters.
I have a message to young people, too: ‘Don’t be a gullible ass’. If those guys were so happy and accomplished, so full of love and history-making zeal, if their lives were so complete, then why the fuck would they still need cigarettes? Sure, flirting with self-destruction may seem cool at first, but the only place it will take you is 6 feet under. Looking for adventure? How’s this: You will die slowly in horrible pain (trust me, I know; a close relative did). And before you die, you can thank cigarettes for losing your beauty, your nice smell, the white of your teeth, the health of your babies, etc. In-between you’ll spend a fortune on quit-smoking workshops that rarely work, because – excuse me – if you were idiotic enough to become hooked in the first place, you’re probably not bright or ambitious enough to quit, either. Because the reason that got you started is probably still nested in your psyche, never really confronted and dealt with.
For all of you out there who think smoking means “taking life into your own hands” – don’t be fooled. You are delivering your life into the hands of the shrewd tobacco industry. And they take with both hands. Are they going to pay your health bills? Are they going to get you a girlfriend/boyfriend? (One who doesn’t care that your breath stinks like an ashtray?…) Are they going to pay for your college and smooth your path to professional achievement? No way. They just want your money. To them, the stupider you are, the better. Smoking is not a freedom statement. Smoking is an addiction. I.E., a bottomless empty pit in your heart and soul. You can stuff it with surrogates all you want, it won’t go away. Only the real thing helps. Nothing is solved by giving nicotine absolute power over your life, your gestures, your earnings. How is that freedom? Pretty soon, you won’t be able to have any sort of flexibility and independence because you’ll just crave the next cigarette so bad, it’ll cloud your mind.
What you need is less smoke and more spirit. Real life, real involvement, real emotions. Self-respect.
P.S. L&M and others actually have the gall to advertise with “No additives”. Wow, ladies and gentlemen, behold: the “healthy” cigarette!… Should I be laughing?
P.P.S. And just in case there are smokers out there who think my language is too strong – try living with chronic bronchitis since the age of 2. Every whiff of cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, etc. causes my bronchi to shut down and me to cough and suffocate. I have yet to meet a chain-smoker who cares. You guys were blessed with perfect respiratory systems and you can’t appreciate them. You can’t appreciate the beauty of just being able to breathe. So remember, no man is an island. While joyously destroying your lives, you are also callously ruining the lives of others. And when you do die, you’ll probably leave behind people who still need you. So don’t be a burden – kick the habit.