Reversing the Psychological Effect of Cigarette Ads

Jim Christopher Health Guide
  • Recently a woman who appeared unwell attended an open SOS meeting that I led. She was two days off the patch and lived in a household with a smoking roommate who chain-smoked indoors.  I was, that night, the only other former smoker in attendance; the other folks were recovering alcoholics, drug addicts in recovery, and persons with food addictions (overeaters).


    We all offered her support, encouragement and congratulations for her efforts. She had sought out this SOS self-empowerment addiction-arrest support group meeting and we hope that she continues her personal nicotine addiction arrest and that she also continues – as long as she wishes – attending our supportive addiction arrest meetings.

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    I felt tearful concerning her plight, her circumstances. Her struggle later brought to mind these thoughts:


    She was an older person, had smoked for many years and, like any of us, had never intended to become a slave to nicotine, unwell and diminished by a drug.


    Her hopes and dreams hadn’t, I’m sure, included the hideous grip of nicotine addiction.  Neither had mine.  I, like most smokers, had only sought solace, a sense of belonging, expression, adventure, coolness.


    Could some of these positive images and feelings have been buoyed by systematic cigarette commercials, created by bottom-line profiteers?  The answer, research has shown, is obviously “yes”. 


    Way back in 1993 when I halted my personal enslavement to nicotine, I, in my new freedom from cigarettes, created my very own anti-smoking counter-commercials with this technique: I call it “feces follies.”


    As a new freedom-from-nicotine person, I deliberately and gleefully applied appropriately disgusting mental images of feces, splattered upon scene after scene of mis-portrayals of living large and well via smoking.


    Radiant cigarette smiles and hugs, waterfalls, lush greenery – all splattered with globs of feces – brought, for me, the solid truth to light: “smoking is s__t and I will no longer have it in my life – the only life I have, by the way!”


     “You, yes, you purveyors of cigarette lies, I not only say to you, ‘no thanks’, I also lovingly add ‘screw you’.  I relish my freedom and you can’t have it; I win, you don’t!”


    These head/gut cognitive/visceral anti-nicotine counter-commercials were very effective for me in the early days. I grew in strength and my nicotine-induced un-wellness ceased.


    I hope you find these suggestion helpful.


    Be well and visit me at


    I look forward to being with you again next week.

Published On: May 21, 2008