Saturday, July 12, 2008

Is It OK to Harass the Smokers We Love?

By Scott Mowbray

When I was 11 years old, I drew skulls and warnings on my mother’s cigarettes and then slipped the cigarettes back in the pack. If I was hoping to embarrass her, it worked: She offered them to guests at an afternoon party, and I heard the details. It wasn’t as hilarious as I had imagined, apparently. That was 1971.
Recently I asked a few friends and acquaintances if they had similar stories and received anecdotes dating all the way back to the start of the modern assault on tobacco. One friend’s father, who was a D.C. lawyer representing a tobacco company in the mid-’60s, fired the client after being pestered by a uniquely positioned pressure group: his offspring. Now 81, he emailed to say he recalls that “firing Lorillard as a client was written up…in an article in The Wall Street Journal, ‘Daddy, Why Do You Represent a Cigarette Company?’”
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