Cinema and Cigarettes
Cinema and CigarettesNo comments were added yet!
I went to a movie the other day, a period drama set in the early 1950s. It was called "Revolutionary Road." I came away with two thoughts: Fedoras like mine are still cool, and so is smoking cigarettes.
Well, at least that was the impression I got. At least a pack and a half of cigs were smoked in a 120-minute flick. It reminded me of a signature song of an old friend of mine, Merle Travis:
"Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette."
On exiting the movie, I plopped my Fedora on my head and lit up. Not really. I don't smoke.
But I began to wonder -especially in light of the Ukrainian Parliament's ban on outdoor tobacco advertising-billboards-what's the big deal? Why billboards and not movies?
I have never seen a billboard that made me want to take up smoking. But I got to tell you-after seeing Clint Eastwood light up those little cigars in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"-- I bought a five-pack.
Tobacco can kill you. There is not one person on the planet who does not know this.
The docs say it's harmful. The tobacco companies say it on web sites. And the warning is placed on cigarette packages. And I say it.
Given all this, I am still against the banning of outdoor tobacco advertising. I think it's silly, so long as tobacco is a legal product --which it definitely is.
There, I've said the socially unacceptable. I am for tobacco advertising.
Does anyone really believe that a billboard showing the smiling faces of relaxed couples shooting billiards is really going to influence anyone to take up smoking?
That's like saying a match struck in Hoboken, New Jersey causes a fire in Hollywood, California. Damn near impossible.
Tobacco advertising-such as on billboards-is designed to promote switching from one brand to another. These are the people who are already smoking.
I confess I have a conflict. My company represents a tobacco company. On the other hand, I don't smoke, and I certainly don't encourage my children or my friends to smoke.
But to attack tobacco on the grounds of its advertising-when tobacco is a product legally consumed-is a mere flanking action. It is like hunting buffalo with a B-B gun.
The pellet might sting a little-and certainly take revenue from the local municipal or regional tax base-but it won't prevent anyone from smoking.
To me, this is not being libertarian, or even contrarian-merely a statement of common sense.
I am Mike Willard, and I am the Ukraine Observer.
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