Watch any television channel for more than an hour these days, and you will no doubt see a fallacious appeal to your base, animalistic emotional response under the guise of an anti-tobacco commercial. You’ve seen these commercials countless times already, and if there wasn’t some part of you that gravitated towards disgust, sympathy, anger, fear, and/or sheer panic… you should go up to Langley, VA and try out for the CIA, because you have no emotions and would make an excellent government assassin! Most of us, however, will experience some part of our emotional selves twinge in response to an image of a 19 y/o girl with a tracheotomy, a missing leg and a missing breast, a bad wig in lieu of hair, and pale, PALE skin (probably photoshopped to look even paler!). At the end of these commercials, they will remind you that the Satan responsible for all of this young teenager’s medical problems is Tobacco. If you’re a smoker, you will light up a cigarette immediately upon seeing these images, and then you’ll imagine yourself with cancer, a hole in your throat (complete with Darth Vader voice), an amputated limb, and something akin to leprosy. If you’re a non-smoker, you’ll get the sudden urge to stomp off to the nearest voting booth and make these deadly things illegal, once and for all!
So what’s the problem? Well, statistically speaking, any death of anyone who has in their medical record that they were smokers at any point in their life gets translated, by numbers, into “smoking-related deaths.” Notice the wording chosen here: smoking-related deaths, not smoking-caused deaths. 99% of the population will miss this difference, but if you think about it… there words are carefully chosen to avoid future claims of misleading advertising. Smoking-“related” doesn’t actually mean anything at all. If I get struck by a meteor while smoking a stogie… it’s smoking-“related.” So smoking-related deaths could easily include people who die in motor vehicle collisions, are have a genetic predisposition to various cancers, happen to be sneaking a cigarette in the bathroom of the World Trade Center when it gets struck by an hijacked aircraft.
Anything else? Yeah! I would like to know exactly how a 19 y/o girl who smoked a few cigarettes (I mean seriously… how old was she when she started one+ pack a day smoking? Three?) was able to get so bad so fast, when the vast majority of smokers don’t experience anything even close to the symptoms which eventually result in cancer until they’ve been smoking for decades? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that a 19 y/o girl who has already survived multiple cancers and suffered amputations probably has something else going on that is not “smoking-related.” Most of us smokers started our horrifically deadly habit when we were teenagers. I started at 15. I didn’t, though, start smoking two packs a day right at the get-go. My friend’s father used to let him and me finish his cigars when he was finished with them. All in all I probably ingested two cigars per month at the beginning. I didn’t approach anything even close to a pack per day until I was 18 years old, in the Marine Corps. In fact, the first pack of cigarettes I actually purchased was the only thing our base exchange sold… cartons of either Marlboros or Camels. I picked Camels, and I packed them in my duffle bag for the two week combat training I went through at Camp Lejeune, NC. I didn’t start experiencing any negative effects from smoking until my mid to late 20s. So, once again, I’m calling BS on this commercial and suggesting that this girl had other, more dreadfully dangerous medical conditions that overshadowed her smoking habit almost completely.
This is how our opposition appeals to the emotional responses of the masses in order to promote their agenda. We have an agenda, too. Unfortunately, for purposes of campaigning our ideals, our position commands control of the logical side of the ideological and legal battle in which we find ourselves embroiled. This normally wouldn’t be a problem, but when the people with whom you’re attempting to communicate are used to making all of their decisions and choosing their personal positions on various issues based on emotional connections… logic will not avail you much if at all. So here we are; standing on the cusp of a great advancement in civilization and on the verge of losing everything we’ve worked towards if we don’t start appealing to the emotions of the populace! There are several ways we can go about this, and probably several more that we haven’t even thought of yet:
-A celebrity spokesperson… not necessarily for a brand, but for the industry in general.
-Individual examples of people who’s lives have been saved by E-cigarettes.
-Advertisements and “public service announcements” demonizing the FDA, and the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries with examples of how and why they are attempting to derail the E-cig industry.
-A colored ribbon bumper sticker campaign, or a colored rubber bracelet campaign… or both.
-Naming an e-cig promotional 501c3 non-profit corporation after someone who almost died were it not for his/her quitting smoking via electronic cigarettes.
-Turn one specific fact/statistic into a slogan or motto (i.e. 15 minutes could save you 15% or more…)
-Take the bandwagon approach and show a smoker all alone outside in the cold/rain, while his/her friends are indoors, vaping and laughing.
-Appeal to the financial stresses of people by doing something similar to the hybrid automobile commercials; highlight the massive amounts of money that can be saved by switching to E-cigs.
-Take the sex appeal route and get some bikini-clad beauties vaping on the beach, in a bed, etc.
-Show the hard-working laborers of a number of E-cig, E-juice manufacturers/retailers earning money to keep their families afloat financially. (Think of the “pirating hurts everyone” advertisements that aired before feature films in movie theaters recently.)
-Appeal to snobbery/classiness with high contrast imagery (such as that used in De Beers commercials/ads)
-Present E-cigs couched in “healthy” surrounding. For example, you can show an in=shape person, fresh from the gym, sitting in front of a salad and a blended fruit smoothie with greenery in the background and some crystal clear water somewhere in the frame.
Obviously, we’re just scratching the surface here. The possibilities are almost limitless, and all of them together can work together to “fix” the image of electronic cigarette technology. We don’t need to feel as thought we’re manipulating the minds of the entire population, because we are, after all, in the right and simply rewording our logical arguments in terms more readily accepted and understood by several generations who have tragically been removed from the art and science of logic and rational thought. We can chant about how the “Truth will prevail” until we’re blue in the face, but until we remind people about just how cool and desirable the Truth is, they aren’t really going to care at all about the actual subject matter of the Truth.
So, I’m gonna start this off with a campaign to show the world the faces the pioneers who’ve received a new lease on life through the miracle of electronic cigarettes. My appeal is to all who have successfully quit smoking by switching to vaping. If you’re interested in taking part in this project, please email a photograph of yourself, alone or with family/friends, and your E-cig story; how much you smoked before, what health problems you experienced, why you felt the desire to quit, how many attempts to quit have you undergone, why you picked E-cigs, what’s happened since you switched to vaping, how has your health improved, how much money have you saved, if E-cigs are banned what will you do, etc. Please feel free to send these pictures and stories to [email protected] Don’t worry, you won’t be spammed with anything other than a simple “thank you” email and possibly a follow-up email if and when your sotry is included in the final project (and I expect that most if not all will be used eventually). Also, feel free to leave your picture and/or story in the “comments” section of this post as well, if you want. I am very excited to see the results of this project, and when I feel that I have enough to start with, I’ll start posting progress reports for all to follow. Thank you and Vape On!!!!