Michael Connor, Starkweather, N.D., letter: Anti-smoking ads insult intelligenceThe only people benefitting from these commercials are the ad agencies that make them and the media that broadcasts or prints them.
By: Michael Connor ,
STARKWEATHER, N.D. — As an ex-smoker who enjoyed the habit for many years and quit “cold-turkey” (no patches, counseling or hand-holding), I feel comfortable commenting on some recent happenings in the war against smokers.
For example, a current TV commercial insults people’s intelligence by showing a convenience store clerk reading a book, chewing gum and generally appearing incompetent (it is also an insult against every real convenience store worker’s competence!) informing a customer what his share of the cost of smoking is while buying a “slumpy.”
This ad certainly ties for “Worst TV Commercial” with the old anti-smoking ad that portrays a barmaid who hated her job and her customers.
The new commercial portrays a convenience store clerk who, with that attitude on display, would be fired before the end of her first day on the job. And as mentioned above, it’s an insult to all the good folks who work in convenience stores in North Dakota.
If the local Tobacco Free Coalition, district health units and State Health Department really are sincere in wanting to reduce threats to our health, they should:
** Admit that those of the older generation who still smoke are “doomed.” Stop hounding them, and leave them be in peace.
** Admit that government cannot legislate or enforce certain moral/health issues (as shown by the failure of Prohibition, 1920-1933).
** Research the problem of “bootleg” cigarettes being brought in by the semi-load to avoid state and local taxes. This is a problem being faced by many states, including New York; we don’t need it in North Dakota.
** Quit wasting the taxpayers money (the tobacco settlement money belongs to the residents of North Dakota) on the current plethora of radio, TV, billboard and print ads that insult our intelligence.
The only people benefitting from these commercials are the ad agencies that make them and the media that broadcasts or prints them.
** Start reducing the “anti-smoking staff” in county and state buildings around North Dakota. It appears that these staff members are almost beginning to outnumber the beleaguered smokers.
The money saved by implementing the latter two steps should be given to local schools to implement a long-term, K-12 program on the dangers of smoking. This program also could include information on other issues of interest to young people, including the importance of proper diet and the dangers of suntanning booths and of using cell phones and/or texting while driving.