I’ll admit it. I used to smoke.
In fact, everyone in my hometown smoked Marlboro at one time or another. It started with the Billy whose mother knew the owner of the corner store. His mom would send him with a few dollars each day after school to buy cigarettes for her, even though he was a minor.
Billy was popular, and by the time we were in the 4th grade, he became even more popular because he knew how to sneak a cigarette for our group of friends to share. By the time I was in high school, I was smoking with my friends socially on a frequent basis.
Smoking was cool. Smoking made us feel grown up. Smoking was a habit that I had to learn to break. Most of my friends still smoke, but it was tough for me to break. I have one friend who died of lung cancer. Another one has throat cancer. Billy died of some other type of cancer, and he smoked until his last day on Earth.
I got the dismay when some people posted comments on a new site claiming that Marlboro was going to stop manufacturing their cigarettes. The Marlboro man has been part of the American culture since as long as I can remember, and my parents before me, and theirs, and so on.
Who doesn’t remember the handsome cowboy on a horse with woods in the background? Some wonder what brand they will have to buy or if it’s a sign to quit. Rather than pull the plug on the nicotine industry, the Phillips Morris International company has a plan, one that we suspected was true when warned about the dangers of smoking in health class: cigarette manufacturers target youth to make them addicted. Their products and ads appeal to youth.
What Marlboro will become is the next-generation of smokers, but this time of smoke-free electrical products. Why? Instead of being called smokers, this group of nicotine addicts are called ‘vapers.’ Most vapers are under the age of 35 and they often start in high school. Because e-smoking is cool.
All the friends are doing it, and it makes people feel like they are grown up, and once you start, it’s really hard to stop. According to the CDC, deaths caused by smoking total 6 million worldwide, and in the United States alone there have been more than 480,000 reported deaths linked to smoking. Phillip Morris International is also turning to cannabis products. Last year the company’s revenue reached $126.2 Billion.