Monday, June 23, 2008

Smoking Glamour


When film stars, sports heroes and high profile people smoke, it can conjure up a world of smoking glamour.

As she titles her head back to puff out the smoke, the diamond necklace sparkles on her elegant neck... With a curl of his lips he arches one brow as he lights up a smoke and plots his next move... Tanned and tousled haired he holds the victory cup aloft to the cheering crowd, then accepts the cigarette from the pretty girl...

Evocative, sexy, macho, or tough smoking glamour. Funny, it doesn't look a bit like the coughing, hacking smokers in this picture.

Too right it doesn't. Want to know more? Unless those smokers quit, in reality smoking glamour goes something like this...

Three of these smokers will die a certainly painful, possibly agonizing, lingering death, anything from 40 years to 10 years early because they were lured by the glamour of smoking.

The rest will succumb to early chronic debilitating diseases, such as bronchitis and emphysema, but may be kept alive by drugs and medicine for many years. Like helpless slaves to tobacco, they will be impelled to light up a cigarette about every 30 minutes, or if unable to, experience cravings as the nicotine blood level drops.

Concern creeps in, a growing worry and guilt, which the smoker tries to hide. This turns into acute everyday fear as symptoms start and smoking statistics are trumpeted. Many smokers, trying to portray a smoking glamour or tough image, act 'unconcerned' and continue to smoke as if nothing is wrong, but it's there and it niggles away at them.

A few daily consequences of smoking that show immediately are:

Stinky breath, accelerating aging and dull skin
Decreased respiratory capacity
More and more the image of a weak-willed, less strong and unhealthy person
Less chance of dating and mating than a non-smoker

Not the image of a glamour smoking at all!

The illusion of smoking glamour in films is a faux "cool." But films are a tremendously powerful emotional medium and this subliminal advertising has an influence on people, especially children.

Although smoking celebrities have enticed many generations of kids to take up smoking, what happens when these beautiful or famous people have gone home after the cheers and accolades and millions of dollars?

What happened to beautiful Betty Grable, America's favorite pin-up girl up to 1972? She appeared in 84 films and her "million dollar legs," were insured. Her picture appeared on the packets of cigarettes she smoked. She died of lung cancer aged 56. Humphrey Bogart, smoking glamour personified. Would light up, "One for me and one for my chick." Died at 57 of esophagus cancer. Smoking and glamour were trademarks of actor, Jack Cassidy, but he died in a fire due to smoking in bed.

Louis Armstrong advertised for Camel cigarettes and his famous gravelly voice might have been helped along by smoking, but this jazz great died of heart failure.

Lung cancer stopped Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez in their prime.

Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond novels. Heart attack at 56.

Who remembers singer, Nat King Cole? He died of lung cancer aged 45. Lana Turner? - Throat cancer claimed her. Yul Bryner and Robert Mitchum - lung cancer. The Marlboro Man - throat cancer.

And what about the wise and popular monarch of Britain, King George VI? A glamorous looking ruler indeed. He didn't know the risks of smoking then, like we do now, and he died aged 56 of lung cancer.
There are many more famous people who the world has associated with smoking glamour, such as: George Harrison, of The Beatles fame, cancer of the lung and brain after years of smoking; and Babe Ruth, 53, baseball player and batting champion; but they are too numerous to mention.
Did these glamorous smokers ever say before they got their diseases, "Why did I ever start smoking? Where has smoking all those cigarettes got me to? What is smoking doing to my body and mind?"
And as they lay dying, ugly and wracked, did they then say, "Smoking glamour is a myth, why on earth didn't I quit before now?"
A 'shocker' clip of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz advertising cigarettes on the Lucy Show.