Howie and I saw one of the recent anti-smoking ads on TV last night. It’s an ad depicting a dad sitting in a chair watching TV while his son plays on the floor nearby. Dad’s puffing away on a ciggy and the room is hazy with smoke. On the floor next to him, his baby is playing with alphabet blocks.
As the voiceover recites the many dangers of second-hand smoke to children, the babe spells out these words with his blocks: bronchitis, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome.
I said to Howie, “So…..Is this saying second hand smoke makes your children really intelligent?”
Howie said, “If I were the kid, I’d just crawl out of the room.”
“Yeah,” I said, “if that baby has the manual dexterity to find those letters and spell out those words, surely he can crawl out there!”
Sometimes those ads are only moderately effective, you know? Guess you can’t win ’em all.
To be fair, the other anti-smoking ad airing around here is good: The droplet-spattered windshield and the intermittent swipes of the windshield wipers tell us it’s raining; mommy’s got the minivan windows shut due to the weather. She’s smoking as she drives, and the van is filled with smoke. Baby baby sits strapped in a carseat behind her, crying. She continues crying as the voiceover ensues. Toward the end, the screen goes dark and some text comes up. We hear the baby cry some more, then cough.
We always comment on that ad’s effectiveness when we see it.
That reminds me…I see parents who conscientiously only smoke outside so they don’t expose their kids to smoke. I even know mothers who quit smoking, cold-turkey mind you, while pregnant. That’s no easy feat! Once they’d given birth and finished breastfeeding, though, they picked those cigarettes right back up.
They did so because they wanted to, because they like smoking, not because they couldn’t help themselves. They admit it.
I think it admirable that these folks want to protect their kids from the harmful effects of nicotine. But, second-hand smoke arguments aside, I have to ask: Do you think they’ll be any better off with you dying young from lung cancer?
You’d do anything to feed your kids if they were hungry or needed medical care, right? Well, this is every bit as important, folks.