BIG TOBACCO AND SHOWBIZ DEAL
"I can quit any time I want to, pilgrim. Like hell I can!"
By Ed Gauthier
Stanford, CA -- A study has just revealed a massive smoke screen, only for a change it's not about dirty government deeds - and this time it also involves actual smoke.
Today a published study conducted by researchers at Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco shows that they have uncovered dozens of tobacco-promotion contracts between tobacco companies, movie stars, and film studios from the silent era through the early 1950s that in today's dollars would be worth millions.
According to Dr. Robert Jackler, chairman of otolaryngology (diseases of the ear, nose and throat) at the Stanford School of Medicine, "The tobacco industry used Hollywood to sell its brands and reassure a worried public that smoking was not harmful."
In virtually all the ads, which appeared in newspapers and magazines and also were frequently broadcast on radio, actors and actresses endorsed particular tobacco brands with claims that they were somehow "milder" than other brands. UC San Francisco professor Stanton Glantz, who authored the study, said that it "debunks the myth" that smoking in movies purely reflected the American culture of the time.
The contracts disclosed in the study, making its publishing debut in today's British Journal of Tobacco Control, reveal that the Lucky Strike brand, for example, paid stars the equivalent of $3.2 million in today's dollars.
Nearly 200 actors were paid for tobacco endorsements during the quarter century between 1927 and 1951, said the study, which represents two-thirds of the top 50 box-office stars during that era.
Of course, many of those same stars soon-after died of cancer from smoking the very cigarettes they endorsed.
In a related area, in recent years researchers have confirmed that the government's 1980s "Just Say No" campaign approach has been a very deadly one.
In the case of the all-important demographic of young people, they found that ads were effective in deterring students from smoking when those students believed their peers were also being influenced by said ads, such as the "Smoking? Hey, nobody's doing it!" approach to tobacco awareness. But the simple authoritarian approach of "Just say no" instead actually lead young people to be MORE attracted to smoking.
Meaning that the rebellious thrill of doing something that adults tell kids not to is still considered cool. So peer pressure is still alive and kicking in the wide middle school strata of the U.S., acting as a huge power that only needs to be harnessed correctly.
Up until now, however, the government - in league with big tobacco much like Hollywood was in league with big tobacco - mishandled the whole anti-smoking thing on purpose.
All of which points to the fact that the government LIED to us - wow, there's a real shocker, huh? NOT!
(Above story based on CNS wire reports.)