The Allure and Dangers of Smoking

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During the '80s, many men and women were attracted by the advertising campaign launched by Philip Morris. Filmed in the beautiful outdoors, the television advertisements showed the hardy cowboy lighting a cigarette, relaxing in front of a camp fire after a hard day's work. The chilly, mountain night scene blended well with the lights and shadows created by the camp fire. Any thought of cold temperature was extinguished by the warmth of the fire, and the lit cigarette. Other versions of the commercial showed cowboys on horseback traversing wild, white rivers and galloping across grazing lands of the West. The images are made more powerful by the music composed by Elmer Bernstein which was originally used for the '60s Western film entitled Magnificent Seven. The score was used extensively in Marlboro commercials prior to the implementation of the cigarette advertisement ban. At the center of this commercial was the quintessential Marlboro Man --- rugged, tough, manly, and a smoker. The commercial ends with an appealing invitation to, “Come to where the flavor is...”

Wayne McLaren and David McLean both played the iconic Marlboro Man in those series of commercials. Both men died of lung cancer and other medical complications related to smoking. McLaren posed for some promotional posters of Marlboro in 1976 He was a professional rodeo rider and appeared in some television series during the '70s. He smoked a one pack and half every single day. By age 49, he was already diagnosed with lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy that led to the removal of one of his lungs. However, when he began the treatments, the cancer cells had already spread to his brain and eventually killed him. David McLean started smoking at the tender age of 12 and continued his habit until he was diagnosed with emphysema in 1985. By 1993, doctors had to remove a cancerous tumor from his lung. Two years later, he died due to the spread of cancer cells to his brain and spine. Before they died, both former “cigarette models” launched anti-smoking campaigns to warn the public about the very harmful effects of smoking.

Smoking is more than just a habit, it is very similar to drug abuse. Research upon research has substantiated claims about the highly addictive content called nicotine. At least one milligram of nicotine is found in an average cigarette and acts as a stimulant. The nicotine in the cigarette causes glucose to be released from the liver and the production of epinephrine --- both of which result to stimulation. It also activates the so-called reward pathways in the brain which are responsible for the production of feelings of euphoria.

The average smoker will easily say that cigarette smoking helps reduce stress and anxiety. Others smoke right after eating a large meal or during stressful situations. Others see the cigarette as an importance prop or ingredient to their overall lifestyle. This reasoning should not come as a surprise especially if it comes from smokers who were born during the '30s to the '50s. Television programs were usually interspersed with cigarette commercial during those eras. In fact, during the '60s, it was very common to see t.v. and screen heroes smoking in reel and real life.

Those who became addicted to cigarettes, whether they knew it or not, were really on a path to self-destruction. To this day, many are still hooked on tobacco despite the cigarette commercial ban and the aggressive anti-smoking campaign by government health agencies. Indeed, smoking cigarettes is not an adventure as once portrayed in commercials. Tobacco addiction is, in truth, a habit that quite literally leads to the grave. Fortunately, for those who want to kick the deadly habit, “cold turkey” methods and anti-smoking medications are now available to help them stop puffing their lives away.

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