Smoking has taken a beating in the United States.

Most smoking in America has been banned from public buildings. All tobacco packaging has to contain scientific warnings that tobacco products are not good for your health. Tobacco is taxed at an exorbitant rate. Television advertising of tobacco products has been curtailed drastically. Multi-million dollar lawsuits have awarded money to smoking victims in large class action health related lawsuits. Doctors advise all their clients to quit. Smoking in movies and on television by actors and actresses has trickled to a few puffs each season.

Camel cigarettes are one of the last surviving brands from the 1950’s.

As kids, we thought it funny to see the Camels on cigarette packs and wondered who would smoke them instead of Philip Morris, Lucky Strikes or Marlboro’s. The fifties were a smoking heyday with millions of vets acquiring the habit in the war and continuing when they got home. Our Dad smoked, but quit, once we were born, by eating tons of lifesavers he kept high up on a closet shelf where we couldn’t reach them. The Camels always made us think of the French Foreign Legion, men wearing funny hats fighting other men wearing funny hats.

In this Santo Domingo airport, on my way home, I find a plastic Camel lounging in a smoking room. It is a cool place to hang out while waiting for my plane to board and there are only a few people here this morning, a cleaning woman and a smoking man looking out the lounge window puffing intently on his Camel cigarette, the smoke making clouds in room thick enough to walk on.

Camels, might truly be cool, but I hear, from people who have lived with them, that they are nasty, have body order, and spit at people they don’t like.

Advertising always gets us to ignore product negatives,

I’m in this smoking room, hanging with a camel, and I don’t even smoke.

 

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