Smoking Doesn’t Kill People, Marketing Does

Photo: Russkin

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

64 thoughts on “Smoking Doesn’t Kill People, Marketing Does

  1. Of course it doesn’t, just ask any of us who have lost precious loved ones to disease caused by smoking. Cool tattoo, but no props for a title making smoking seem cool (this also comes from a former hardcore smoker, and is not a slam on smokers, I know how strong the addiction is, but believe me, the heartache of losing someone to it is much worse).

  2. Well, from the days when I would buy those stickers to slap over the gross warning labels on my pack of smokes, I had many that started as “Smoking doesn’t kill people, (whatever) does” – maybe those aren’t as widely used as I had thought, but we stuck them over our packs to laugh at the morons who scolded us for smoking, and to get a jab in at someone else while we were at it. That was the purpose of the stickers – maybe you had a totally different attitude in mind when coming up with the title, and I apologize for that confusion if I’m not getting what you meant. No biggie.

    However, my hypocritical side has to agree, I like the look of smoke especially in B&W photography. I just also hate that some kids (like the kid I was) take it as “Hey, I can look that cool too!” when they see an artistic shot including/featuring smoking. It’s one of those situations that you just can’t win, and people who are hurting from a recent loss, like myself, should probably just keep quiet and take it for what it is, a good pic. My apologies again for the misinterpretation.

  3. No modified person smoking through their trach hole as a follow-up? I’d think that’d be even more impressive.

  4. As soon as I saw the title I thought of that Goldie Lookin Chains song… you know, “guns don’t kill people, wwwwappers do!”

  5. Yeah, hilarious. Like me talking to my induced-coma mother last year, after they kept her under because she was fighting the breathing tube that was keeping her alive as her lungs started failing and filling with fluid after a life of smoking (age 12 to 60).

    Smoking sure is funny. Too bad I can’t talk to her now to tell her the joke.

  6. It’s amazing the things that people find themselves sensitive to.

    That said, the tattoo on his arm intrigues me. It almost looks like an old faded tattoo that was added onto to get that effect. I really like it!

  7. Yeah, people are freaking out. Convincing people that smoking will kill them has proven surprisingly hard.

    For someone so concerned with pride in and transcendence of one’s own body, you’re quick to get on board with damaging it with cigarettes.

  8. I think it’s lame because smoking really DOES kill people. Sure, some people smoke, and yeah it’s their decision (as Jess [14] said), but to say that smoking doesn’t kill people is dishonest.

  9. dude, in today’s world, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know that danger’s of smoking. That being said, it’s each person’s individual right to smoke or not smoke.

    people die in car crashes every year. Yet, there aren’t anti-car commercials, people people yelling at drivers. It’s the same kinda thing.

    I know old people who have smoked their entire life and are fine. I also know people who have died of lung cancer from smoking. Just like i’m sure we all know people who have died from car accidents.

    It’s someone’s choice. Just like anything else.

  10. Ok, people sed to seriously chill the fuck out. Its people like you that are the reasons books get baned, you’re too damn sensative and have to bitch about an artistic photo showing someone smoking.

    That being said, I like the photo. very cool.

  11. Smoking is totally revolting, but Shannon is right that is does look great in photography, particularly B+W. That said though there is a big difference between a still life pair of wet lips with a trail of smoke obscuring a pair of heavy-lidded sultry eyes and the moving reality of a pursed pair of cat’s-bum lips drawing furiously at a ciggie before exhaling a belch of bluish smog that gets caught in the smokers eye and makes them grimace like they’re having a pencil shoved in their ear-hole.
    And you don’t even get high off a cigarette!

  12. Greg, sorry about your mom. I lost my father-in-law the same way.

    To go back to the posted pix, I really like the shading with the tribal. Haven’t seen that, many times before… or it might just be me.

  13. Im pretty surprised too see so many people, especially in this community, so non supportive of one’s own decision.

  14. Many people have issues with smoking that stem from things other than the smoking killing themself. For example:
    *Smoking creates a tremendous amount of waste, from the processing to the packaging to the disposable lighters used to the butts left over
    *Smoking supports an industry which make a huge majority of its political donations to conservative parties (
    *It hurts AND KILLS other people
    *It fucking stinks
    *And it makes going to concerts a hell of a lot less enjoyable

    And to the people saying things like this:
    “Im pretty surprised too see so many people, especially in this community, so non supportive of one’s own decision.”

    I have one question. Do you support every single decision that every single individual makes? How about when those decisions hurt other people?

    If not, then shut up.

  15. the tattoo is super cool
    and as for the smoking in the picture it looks amazing
    yeah people die but the addiction IS to strong
    i know
    but still its a wicked picture

  16. For what it’s worth… I’ve seen better smoke-photographs than this one.
    I guess this picture was more of a ‘start of a very very very obvious discussion’ than a ‘god this picture rocks because the guy has a smoke’…

  17. I think it would look cool to see someone with a stretched labret(s) to blow smoke out of the hole, while wearing tunnels in their lip.

  18. “to say that smoking doesn’t kill people is dishonest.”

    I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to suggest that Shannon may not have been seriously implying that smoking isn’t bad for you.

  19. It’s not like there’s a little demon running around forcing people to smoke until they get addicted. People know smoking kills and chose to smoke anyway, so please lighten up a little

  20. If people are so worried about smoking killing people, how about not smoking?

    A lot of other things kill people just the same as smoking does. Obesity, Heart Disease, HIV, Car Accidents, etc. I don’t see a whole lot of people cutting out unhealthy foods, being abstinent (even using a condom), or not driving a car either. Live healthy, die anyways. Who is to say that someone who smoked for 30 years, gets lung cancer and dies wouldn’t have gotten lung cancer regardless? Not saying they are GOOD for you, simply saying if a butterfly flaps it’s wings the outcome might or might not be the same.

    Point is? There are a lot of things people do that are not healthy. Who cares, it’s that person’s choice. Do you slap a cheeseburger out of someone’s hand at McDonald’s? No (and rightfully so, because you’d probably get knocked the fuck out).

    If you’re gullible enough to say “Wow, that guy on BMEzine was smoking and he looked awesome – I think I’m going to go buy my first pack of cigarettes!”, then you’re a fucking moron.

    Yes, it’s the cigarette companies fault your ass picked up a cigarette and smoked it. Just one more copout in our world to teach us to be less responsible for our own actions. Joy. Remember kids, always blame what you do on someone else!

  21. as a designer and someone who works in a marketing department, i am totally offended by this post!

  22. great photo and nice twist on the traditional tribal design. I’m sure the title wasn’t meant in any serious manner.

    Any pot related post never seems to get this many negative responses about the effects on lungs etc.

  23. I understand what you’re trying to get through with the title, since smoking can look artistic in well done photos.

    11/Greg really needs to chill. Jesus fucking Christ.

  24. Look. Everyone knows smoking kills. It’s slapped all over the labels of the boxes, the tv, and hello, it’s the internet. Google it. I’m not advocating smoking because honestly I’m not for it, but come ON people. What a stupid thing to start freaking out about.

    I think he looks sexy. I think photographs of people smoking, especially in B&W, adds a sex factor.

    …oh yeah, and I love his tattoo, considering that’s kinda the point.

  25. I work for a marketing company that only does promotions for a large tobacco company and I LOVE the headline!! good job!

  26. but the majority of people smoke pot with tobacco…or at least around here they do.

    I guess I’m being kinda hypocritical though, lots of people here are offended because they’ve lost people due to lung cancer and, although it is not the same, most of my friends turned into complete bums who’ve wasted their life due to pot and I ‘lost’ them, so I tend to have something against it.

  27. what’s the commotion for people? it’s just a picture. well, anyway smoking prevent you from growing old….cos you die young..haha cheers!

  28. FIRST) The actual point of the post: The shading in the background of the tattoo is actually accented by the smoke from the cigarette which is what makes it a great picture – even if the tattoo is only mediocre / “good”.

    Pot actually stops lung cancer? That’s one I haven’t heard before. I would really appreciate if you could provide a link to where ever you found or read about that study – seriously – I would be genuinely interested in reading it for work purposes.

    Beyond that I feel that people need to fucking chill when it comes to issues regarding others freedoms. He’s smoking, yes smoking is bad for you, you’re not leaking breaking news on that one and it’s not as if he is blowing the second hand smoke in the faces of babies. So seriously… what the fuck?

    As an ex-smoker (for many years) I still think smoking LOOKS bloody hot despite the impact it has on ones health or the health of others, the way its smells etc. The world’s become toxic because of a multitude of reasons not just cigarettes… it’s something that we have to come to terms with.

  29. I’m not too sure how pot ’cause *stop* lung cancer considering it has 3 to 5 times higher levels of tar and carbon monoxide than tobacco ciggies, it certainly could help for the pain caused by lung cancer though which is a very nice thing.

  30. 27 – how dare people support an industry that in turn supports a political ideology that you disagree with – that’s scandalous.

    Back to the picture – he’s fucking hot.

  31. Chaq: you most certainly can get high off a cigarette; it’s called hypoxia. If you smake a cigarette very fast (for instance, on a two minute break from work), you’ll dump enough CO and CO2 into your lungs that you don’t get enough oxygen into the blood. This causes a light-headed sensation similar to being mildly drunk or stoned that lasts for about 3-5 minutes.
    Secondary point: I’ve noticed a lot of people engaging in drunken body play in various photos on modblog, but I’ve never once seen someone complaining about promoting alcohol abuse…
    Response to Cuntcumer: *Smoking creates a tremendous amount of waste, from the processing to the packaging to the disposable lighters used to the butts left over
    See also: alcohol. Production of beer uses grains (and hence arable land) that could be put to much better use, such as growing organic produce.
    *Smoking supports an industry which make a huge majority of its political donations to conservative parties (
    How is this relevant? Do you not want companies to donate money to political parties, or do you only want them to donate to parties that you support?
    *It hurts AND KILLS other people
    See also: alcohol. Alcohol is the contributing factor in roughly 40% of all motor vehicle fatalities per year in the United States.
    *It fucking stinks
    This is your opinion. Even before I was a smoker, I liked the way smoking smelled (and no, I was not raised by smokers, nor was I exposed to many people who smoked while I was growing up). While it it your right to dislike the smell, and to be presonally opposed to smoking on that basis, in a debate about the rightness or wrongness of smoking it holds little place.
    *And it makes going to concerts a hell of a lot less enjoyable
    Again, this is your opinion. I find that alcohol makes concerts a lot less fun. I like to listen to the music, not get sucked into drunken fist-fights, step in vomit, or have someone spill their beer all over me.
    I’m not supporting smoking, because I agree that it’s very bad for you, but if you are going to go off on people that make poor health choices, you’re gonna have to go after a lot more people than just smokers to avoid hypocrisy.

  32. Why is the cigarette a big deal at all? It’s so strange that everyone on BME/Modblog are so uptight that they can’t accept someone for an addiction, that’s pretty cool. We’re supposed to be the most accepting people because we know how hard it is to be modified but we always seem to be putting everyone else down for minor things. If you’re the kind of dolt who will berate someone for anything insignificant such as this then you don’t belong in this culture. Also, just because someone close to you died from it doesn’t mean you should push your beliefs onto the world.

  33. Looks folks, I don’t give a rat’s ass if people choose to smoke. I also don’t care if there are pictures of it, here or elsewhere.

    What I am bothered by it is glorification and jokes about smoking, and peoples’ choice to smoke. Sure they have the choice. I have the choice to pierce myself or get tattoos too. Just don’t do it next to me, and don’t make jokes about smoking not killing people, because I’m grieving a very recently deceased close family member, killed by smoking and the fucking evil industry that made it happen (as in, she tried from age 20 to age 57 to quit…finally managed it, then it killed her).

    It’s not akin to book burning like the moron above pointed out. It’s akin to choosing to shoot oneself in the head, while in a crowd that may be impacted by the bullet.

  34. I’m sorry, but people are cruel, and I am sure people will make jokes that you don’t like sometimes. People aren’t going to cater to you and your feelings in the big bad world. There are plenty of jokes I don’t find funny, but I still don’t tell people “That’s not funny because THIS happened to me” because, regardless or not maybe they honestly think it’s funny and it’s their right to think it’s funny.

    Just because you’re there doesn’t mean people are going to give a shit. It’s how life works, get over it. Not everyone will spare your feelings just because you had some bad shit happen to you.

    The tobacco industry is just like every other industry in the world, they’re out to make money. Do/Have they used some shitty advertising and marketing tactics? Sure they have. Are they evil? Probably. Are they moral? Maybe, Maybe not. Supply and demand. Classic business.

    Yes, their product might kill a percentage of it’s users, but YOU have the choice on whether or not to use it. I hate people whining about how the cigarette companies stole their loved ones or they go so far as to SUE the companies – The cigarette didn’t hold a mini-gun to their head and scream “SMOKE ME, SMOKE ME” , they made a choice and when you make a choice you need to be aware of all the outcomes. Yes it’s an addiction but if you truly want to quit, you’ll find a way.

    My best friend’s mother died of lung cancer when she was 16, *maybe* from smoking (who knows, other factors besides smoking probably played a role). Does she hate tobacco companies or blame her mother’s death on the “evil” industry? No, I’m sure she wished her mother would have quit or never started, but she also realizes that she made the choice. Does she think cancer jokes are funny? No. Does she think tobacco killing people is funny? Not really. But does she blame a choice her mother made on the tobacco industry? No.

  35. Its everyones own decision if they want to smoke, I use to smoke and took my own decision when to stop.
    It is very unlikely in this day and age if a smoker dosnt know the risks they are taking. Every packet has printed across the front ‘smoking kills’.
    I have had people close to me die from lung cancer, and yet my grandfather smoked into his 80′s its the luck of the draw. Smokers know the risk they are taking.
    Im cool with it unless people smoke around kids forcing them to inhale smoke, or pregnant females smoke, thats a diff matter.
    People go off on one about having to care for a sick smoker, I think the government has taken care of these costs the amount of tax charged on each packet.
    People also smoke for different reasons, some pure recreational, others need a fag maybe to calm their nerves.
    So, each to their own.

  36. why not? I think its just as appropriate as those who are basically telling everyone to take it seriously.

    and its “lightEN up” not “light up”. One has to do with smoking the other doesn’t.

    and in the remote possibility – puns are not funny.

  37. quite a heated debate! I’m sure the person here knows how bad smoking is for you (how can you not?)but the pic looks great anyways!

  38. this is ironic. and funny! i couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether he’s got a cigarette or not. it’s his choice, not yours. besides, isn’t doing purposeful damage to yourself for an aesthetic effect or for therapeutic reasons inherently similar to body modification? granted, bod mods don’t do as much internal damage.

    in the end… he has a cigarette. oooooooooh no.

  39. OK, I’ve just been reading some of the amazing comments on this, and I’d just like to say:

    Dude, its a cigarette. You can smoke them at 16 (though soon to be 18) and although many people’s philosophy on life is that they don’t want things forced on them, you all appear quite happy to push your biases and personal opinions down everyone else’s throats.


    And also, everyone is freaking out over the bloody title. THE TITLE! Not even the main picture, man! So what if this guy smokes? Millions of people smoke! But this guy has fucking shit-hot tattoos. So there.

    And also

    I saw a guy at a Dead Kennedys gig a couple of years back smoking through a tracheoctomy hole. It was damn funky. Being able to smoke through his throat but still drink and talk ‘normally’. And this guy must have been about 50.

    So lay off the smokers, OK?

    If you don’t like it, then don’t breathe.

  40. smoking is so cool i got to spend 3 months with my mom bed ridden and in lots of pain .she had lung cancer survived 9 months after she was told she had it .i lost my mom nov 8 2007.
    all the chemo ,not being able to do anything for herself coudn,t even play with her grandkids.thats the life i would want oh and i forgot to mention the nightmares i have because i had to watch the cancer eat her alive and i couldnt make her last months comfortable for her.

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