The smoking gun: killing the addiction


In a community based around anti-smoking, how does a smoker escape tobacco addiction?

As a society, our knowledge about drug abuse develops over time. This also applies toward tobacco and smoking addiction. We understand much more about tobacco addiction than we did 100, 40, or even 10 years ago. With newfound facts and studies about tobacco, smoking, and health, we continue to accomplish more to avoid disease and death caused by tobacco.

At one time doctors recommended certain brands of cigarettes to their patients, and this would later appear in radio, print and TV advertisements. Big-name celebrities starred in magazine tobacco advertisements, grabbing people’s attention.

One of the better-known celebrities that appeared in these advertisements was John Wayne, who subsequently had a lung removed from a six-pack-a-day routine.

Even classic cartoon characters like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble had a casual smoke in TV commercials. The act of smoking a cigarette was glamorized throughout the media from as early as the late 1800s.

“You see how easy it is to keep a man happy?” asks Lucille Ball in a 1970 commercial for cigarettes. “Why not give your husband a carton of Phillip Morris cigarettes?”
“Smart move,” Desi Arnaz responds. “He’ll love them for their mildness, smoothness and their wonderful good taste, and he’ll love you too for thinking of him.”

As a substitute to smoking advertisements on TV, up-to-date anti-smoking campaigns overlook the past. For many years, we have been cautioned about the threat of tobacco consumption and second-hand smoke. We know that smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States and Canada.

However, even with the information and awareness campaigns, nearly one in five Canadians still smokes cigarettes routinely.

Positive representations of tobacco use continue to show up in the entertainment industry. Though the use of tobacco in the media is not as common and ongoing as it once was, we still see it make an appearance in TV shows like Mad Men, which takes place in the 1960s when the likeness of people smoking was a huge part of society.

“If celebrities stop indirectly glamorizing smoking as a cool thing to do, literally millions of smokers may become motivated to extinguish their last cigarette, if their strong pro-smoking messages were not so visible in the media,” Craig Nabat, inventor of the Freedom Quit Smoking System, told “Better yet, thousands of youths annually may never even pick up the addictive habit in the first place.”


When we look around now, the smoking advertisements have drastically changed. With nicotine being proven as one of the most addictive chemicals, pro-smoking has turned into anti-smoking.

Boxes of cigarettes contain warning labels on the side with pictures of what you could look like if you continue to smoke over time. Although smoking isn’t glamorized in the media, around 17 per cent of Canadians are smokers.

E-Cigarettes have become a popular trend for people who want to quit smoking. Little do people know that e-cigarettes do in fact contain nicotine, which you can get hooked on pretty quickly.

One might say that back when smoking was glamorized, the media was to blame because they were ill informed. Doctors were pretty much prescribing potential cancer to their patients.

But with all this new information about the truth of smoking, why would some people look to light a cigarette? The media cannot be blamed due to the warnings and health risks they give.

No advertisements nowadays encourage people to smoke. So, the question that sparks controversy is whom do we shift the blame towards and how do we fix the issue?

Today, the blame is shared between the smokers and the tobacco industry. As an informed society, we learned about why smoking is bad for us and it has been confirmed that we will have health risks down the line if we pursue smoking. Yet, almost five million Canadians are smokers, according to The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey.

Be that as it may, the root of the problem can be directed towards the tobacco industry, the distributors of cigarettes. Why do the companies continue to sell cigarettes and other tobacco-based products? It’s the same reason why any other company wants to sell something, to get money. But the tobacco companies are not the only ones who get money from smoking.

“Our governments collect billions of dollars annually in cigarette taxes,” Jim Warren told the Toronto Sun. “Every government of every political stripe, federally and provincially, has regulated and taxed cigarettes. They have all used the same strategy to reduce smoking – raising the taxes on it ever higher. With so many Canadians still smoking, despite these higher taxes, the financial penalty clearly doesn’t work or is at best an unacceptably inefficient way to address the issue.”

Helping a friend or family member quit is the best course of action and only proven method to kill the addiction. Surrounding that person with encouraging people that will assist you every step of the way.

The process can be stressful, going through withdrawal, having to take it slow, slip-ups and breaking the links to triggers. But the reality of the situation is that sticking to the habit of smoking can result in digging yourself an early grave. It’s your choice to live a happy and healthy life.