What happened to the Marlboro Man?

Marlboro Man walked into the bar every evening at seven, went to the lady sitting at the bar, btw. she only drank wine, tipped his hat, said “Hi” and went away again. Every time the lady was at the bar at seven, he came in, did his shtick and nothing else and went away again. After a few weeks, the bartender could not stand it any longer and asked the lady what is going on. She said: “I used to smoke, you know? I met this guy and immediately fell in love with him. Then I had to give up smoking for health reasons and when I told him, he just went away, never came back.” “I am sorry, I do not understand” – said the bartender, perplexed. “What is not to understand, his TV-ad comes on at seven, each day.”

When filter cigarettes were introduced, they were advertised to female smokers first, which did hurt sales at that time, since no man wanted to buy them. Marlboro Man got introduced, a cowboy, a man’s man, a hunk, an icon, which overturned the image within weeks. Several such smoking icons existed during the years, Camel Joe, for instance. Most of the Hollywood stars smoked, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, even Audrey Hepburn, just to name a few. Now you cannot find a smoking star, even if you are casting for one, not even John McLane, pardon me, Bruce Willis in the umpteenth sequel of “Die Hard” smokes. The only guys who smoke are Russian Mobsters, who are never pretty guys and somehow they always have either bad or ridiculous teeth.

The only “other” smoking is when someone is smoking weed, in some Judd Apatow movie. Since when it became more acceptable to smoke weed than smoke a cigarette, cigar, pipe or a cigarillo? Why is nobody going trendy and has a star suck on an electronic cigarette, a Shisha, or something? There were people with nicotine patches in movies, but a cigarette, no, it is like you would publicly proclaim you belong to a Satanist cult.

I did switch to e-cigs mostly because I, as I stated before, have concerns regarding my fertility, but I still want my buzz, inhaling, feeling my lungs expand and the vapour caress my lungs, like a long lost lover returning for a last thrill. It is weird how smokers actually perceive their habit, obsession, call it what you like. If it were only inhaling smoke, we would all have given up smoking ages ago. No, there is more to it, it is a ceremony, it is intimate, we feel different when we smoke, we are different with the stick between our fingers, holding the smoking cigarette in our hand, the smoke slowly painting the familiar patterns before our eyes. Wow, do I need a smoke right now.

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