Why does anyone today under seventy years old smoke cigarettes?

The Surgeon General’s report on the dangers of smoking came out in 1964. That means if you are under seventy today, you have known about the dangers of smoking since you were twelve, or younger, or all your life. Assuming most people don’t start smoking prior to their twelfth birthday, why is anyone under seventy smoking cigarettes in 2022? Why would you start the habit in the first place, given all the warnings?

If I had lived in the mid-1960s, I would have assumed that cigarette smoking would be mostly gone by 1990 or so. Smokers who got addicted prior to 1964 would die off. And of course no new smokers would be created after 1964, given all of the warnings.

So what happened?

Because warnings don’t really mean anything substantial, especially to younger people. In my case, I got hooked on other tobacco products first, which led to my cigarette smoking.

Under 70, barely. Down to half a pack.

And counter-advertising to young folks about health dangers isn’t very effective.

What has had some success is advertising based on the theme: “So, do you like being played for a fool by Big Tobacco?” The youth tend to be more receptive to that type of adverts.

And now that the number of smokers is finally dwindling, they’re getting kids addicted to vapes, instead.

My sister, a lifelong non-smoker, took it up and became a smoker at age 45. ( Sigh )

It’s pleasurable. Just like a lot of things that are bad for humans. Junk/fast food, drugs, casual unprotected sex, etc…

If it’s any consolation my observation is the ratio of smokers to non-smokers is down significantly. When I was a kid in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed a majority of people smoked. And you could smoke almost everywhere. In the city I grew up in you could smoke in the freaking library up until about 1978 IIRC. And there was no legal age.

Apparently so. A woman we know who is in her early 80s just restarted with a vengeance. She gave up tobacco when she turned 50 for health reasons. She told me she might have 5 more years due to a long list of health issues, so she’s gonna really enjoy each day and that means 1/2 pack a day.

I think it’s 95% peer pressure or other social factors. I mean, I knew more than one person in college who took up smoking in order to have a reason to hang out with the cute people they saw smoking outside the dorms/class buildings every day. Everyone I knew who smoked in high school did it to be rebellious and/or “cool”.

And a much smaller percentage seemed to use it as a sort of… holdover(?) drug to give them some kind of buzz when they couldn’t get something more illicit.

I think that until probably the mid-80s, it was just so common that if you were in a circle that smoked, it was probably just easier to go along than to fight that tide for most people.

The link below says that during my childhood the number of smokers was never more than 37% and as low as 25%, but I don’t doubt that it was very dependent on gender and socio-economic status.

Tobacco Trends Brief | American Lung Association

Actually it isn’t. Any “pleasure” is getting the drug fix. Not we are not talking about a $20 Havana here, we are talking about a cig, where only 2/3rd is actually tobacco and the product is carefully made to regulate the nicotine fix and make it easier to inhale. The drug dose is carefully regulated by the cig industry.

Read The Golden Holocaust. Big Tobacco spent a couple decades lying and obfuscating the truth about lung cancer, even hiring respected scientists and doctors to lie.

Big Tobacco still spends millions getting Film and Cable to show smoking- smoking is today more prevalent in film than it was in the heyday of smoking.

Have you ever smoked? I have. It is pleasurable even if that pleasure is based on an addiction, habit, or trigger. I’m not claiming it’s the only reason people smoke, but it’s one of them.

And I call BS on the smoking in film claim. Have you ever seen a movie or tv show from the 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s?

And the first time you smoked, you probably gagged and retched, or possibly just fought back the urge to do so in order to try to look cool. Smoke, of any sort, is extremely unpleasant. The fact that so many people smoke anyway is a testament to just how addictive nicotine is.

I’ve known several women who smoked specifically as an aid to staying thin, as it acted as an appetite suppressant.

When I was in college in the 1980s (and, thus, yes, we were all old enough to know full well the warnings about smoking), I became friends with a woman who was a theater major, and who had also been a ballet dancer. She told me that smoking was very prevalent in both groups, again as a tool for staying slim.

My parents both smoked, so I grew up in a household where it was omnipresent, and at a time, and in a place (Wisconsin in the 1970s and 1980s) where it was also pretty much everywhere. I never picked up the habit, but my younger sister did; part of it was, I think, just general teenaged rebelliousness, and part was that she hung around with the musicians (she knew a lot of rock bands when she was in her teens and twenties), and they all smoked, as well, so it was apparently something that you did to fit in with that crowd.

Some of my high school students took it up to stay thin.

When you’re in your early teens, you can’t even imagine yourself a year or two in the future. Health consequences from smoking are unimaginably far away. You figure when they happen, you’ll quit. Since you can’t imagine Distant Future You, you also can’t grasp how hellish quitting will be.

I would appreciate seeing a cite for that; both that smoking is more prevalent in films today and that the tobacco companies pay for placement.

I have, and some show a lot of smoking and others- almost none.

The cigarette is the deadliest artifact in the history of human civilization. It is also one of the most beguiling, thanks to more than a century of manipulation at the hands of tobacco industry chemists. In Golden Holocaust , Robert N. Proctor draws on reams of formerly-secret industry documents to explore how the cigarette came to be the most widely-used drug on the planet, with six trillion sticks sold per year. He paints a harrowing picture of tobacco manufacturers conspiring to block the recognition of tobacco-cancer hazards, even as they ensnare legions of scientists and politicians in a web of denial. Proctor tells heretofore untold stories of fraud and subterfuge, and he makes the strongest case to date for a simple yet ambitious remedy: a ban on the manufacture and sale of cigarettes.

The book has footnotes for every claim and has dug into tonnes of documents seized during the Tobacco hearings,

Page 65.



This study examined trends in tobacco use in a random sample of 2 of the 20 top-grossing US films each year from 1960 through 1990 (62 films). The overall rate of tobacco use did not change. Films continue to portray smokers as successful, attractive White males. Smoking groups became larger, smoking alone declined, hostility and stress reduction were increasingly associated with smoking, and smoking by minor characters increased. Although smoking among elite characters fell, it remained nearly three times as prevalent as in actual population data during the 3 decades. Events involving young people more than doubled. Films do not accurately represent smoking in the United States.

Tobacco use is increasing in popular films

Results: The overall rate of tobacco use appears to have “bottomed out” in the 1980s and is now increasing back to levels observed in the 1960s. The presentation of tobacco use in films is increasingly discordant with reality, because tobacco use in the population continues to drop. Films continue to portray smokers as successful white males, although portrayal of smoking among women is increasing.

Conclusions: The gap between the representation of tobacco use in films and the reality of tobacco continues to widen, with the prevalence of smoking among lead characters four times the smoking prevalence among comparable individuals in society at large.

Big-screen advertisements

The tobacco industry didn’t need a fancy study from Dartmouth to see the marketing potential of movies. As early as 1983, in speech to his marketing division, Hamish Maxwell, president of Phillip Morris International, put it bluntly: “I do feel heartened at the increasing number of occasions when I go to a movie and see a pack of cigarettes in the hands of the leading lady,” Maxwell said. “We must continue to exploit new opportunities to get cigarettes on screen and into the hands of smokers.”

In the past, tobacco companies openly paid movie studios and stars to feature their products. According to internal memos, Brown and Williamson alone – makers of Kool and other brands – spent $950,000 over four years to get their products on screen. After congressional hearings in 1989, the tobacco companies admitted to this covert form of advertising and publicly pledged to stop it. (At the time, none of the studios put such a policy into writing.) Ever since that pledge, however, smoking in the movies has actually increased, Glantz says. And filmmakers aren’t just showing cigarettes. More than ever, he says, they are highlighting specific brands.

Sargent, for one, sees something fishy. “I wonder why brands appear on the screen if there is no quid pro quo,” he says. “Does the movie industry also provide free advertising for BMW? For Nokia? For Heineken or Budweiser?”

The proliferation of cigarette packages and billboards in the movies definitely raises a red flag, says Glantz, who speculates that the movie studios and the tobacco companies are making deals. “Studios are very careful about what brands they use.”

And even though the tobacco industry was banned in 1998 from paying to have cigarettes shown in movies, smoking in movies has increased . In fact, just two years after the ban, smoking in youth-rated films increased by 50 percent.3

Why do people smoke meth? (Take heroin? Snort cocaine? Drink alcohol? Pop pills?) Can anyone here argue that possibly can be from Big Meth and its promotional budget?

My mother smoked when I was a young child, and gave it up when she got pregnant with my sister because it made her sick, and fortunately never started again. Anyway, when she got pregnant with ME in 1963, she asked the doctor if smoking was okay, and he told her, “Yes, it is, because you’ll gain less weight.”