I learned something interesting the other day when I asked a good friend of mine to help me move a couch. After we were finished, I stopped by the Carrieville store to grab a pop. My friend also went in because he needed to purchase some "smokes." I insisted that I pay for them because he was such a great guy for helping me move this rather heavy sofa sleeper which subsequently resulted in the tearing of his 20 year old favorite shirt while also scratching his arm.

So, I paid for two packs of cigarettes, but when the cashier gave them to me, I glanced down to look at the packaging and noticed something quite odd. The brand was "Marlboro Special Select." I was like, oh you got the special blend which he replied no, these are what they call "Marlboro Lights" now. This made me curious so I decided to investigate this matter.

In this edition of the "Sheriff's Corner," I discuss the re-branding of cigarettes and some other interesting facts relating to cigarettes.

(Disclaimer: This is not a pro or anti-smoking article.)

MEMORIES

Whether you are a current smoker, a past smoker or never smoked at all, smoking has effected our lives. I'm not talking about the health aspects but the memories we have of smokers and the things people did to smoke or while they were smoking. For example:

• The smoking tree at your high school where everyone huddled before and after school to take in a quick puff.

• The collection of Bel-Air cigarette coupons spread all over the house, cabinets and tables from your grandmother saving up to get discounts on whatever merchandise.

• At 10 years old, going down to the corner store with a note that stated "Please sell my son Richie one pack of Kool Mild cigarettes. Thank you, Rick Martin (father)."

• Your friend who smoked Marlboro Lights, while intoxicated, lit the wrong end of the cigarette and complained about this bad taste in his mouth for a week."

• Your grandmother, while at a railroad crossing, dropped a cigarette ash on the car floor. When going to put it out, she released her foot off the brake pedal resulting in her ramming the train.

• Being the first one to pass out at a party, when only to wake up with someone putting cigarette butts up your nose.

• Your grandmother who had that cheesy fake leather purse thing with the metal snap on the top which she would store her cigarettes and lighter in as well as some spare change.

• Hearing the question "hard pack or soft pack?"

• Your past girlfriend, when getting into an argument, would immediately grab her pack of smokes, smash them in her palm at least 3 times, then run outside and have a smoke.

• Your friends freaking out when they would come over because your grandfather was smoking a cigarette while breathing oxygen through a hose in his nose.

• Removing a picture frame on the wall to discover your living room walls were actually once white, rather than a yellowy tan color.

And the list goes on. It's funny how you remember these things and how they affected your life.

HISTORY

Cigarettes were first introduced in the U.S. in the early 19th century. Before this, tobacco was used primarily in pipes and cigars, by chewing, and in snuff.

By the time of the Civil War, cigarette use had become more popular. Federal tax was first imposed on cigarettes in 1864. Shortly afterwards, the development of the cigarette manufacturing industry led to their quickly becoming a major U.S. tobacco product.

In 1956, a Surgeon General’s scientific study group determined that there was a causal relationship between excessive cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

In 1971, a ban was put in place for cigarette advertisements on TV and radio. Advertisements for smokeless tobacco products on TV and radio, were not banned until 1986. Ads continued to run in magazines and newspapers as well as on billboards and on transit.

In 1998, a ban was placed on transit and billboard advertisements, paid brand product placement, cartoons, tobacco brand sponsorship of sporting events and concerts, as well as advertising and marketing practices that targeted individuals under 18. So, no more icons like "The Marlboro Man" and "Joe the Camel,"

In 2007, a U.S. federal judge ruled that Tobacco makers can no longer use words such as “light” and “low tar” to promote their products. This actually went into effect in 2010.

More than half of daily American smokers — including nearly two-thirds of women who smoke — say they smoke brands marketed as 'light' or 'ultra-light.' Studies have shown that this gave smokers the feeling of being a healthier option, but in actually this was not true. A cigarette is a cigarette.

TAG LINES & SLOGANS

I thought it would be entertaining to put in this article some of the good ole catch phrases that some of us may remember.

• Marlboro: "Come to where the flavor is. Come to Marlboro country."

• Virginia Slims: "You've come a long way, baby. It's a woman thing. Find your voice."

• Viceroy: "Viceroy's Got The Taste That's Right. As Your Dentist, I Would Recommend Viceroys."

• Salem: "Take a puff, it's springtime."

• Embassy: "Inhale to your heart's content!"

• Eve: "Farewell to the ugly cigarette pack. Finally a cigarette as pretty as you. Every inch a lady."

• Pall Mall: "OUTSTANDING ... and they are MILD! Wherever Particular People Congregate."

• Chesterfield: "Blow some my way."

• Camel: "More Doctors Smoke Camels than any other Cigarette."

• Winston: "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."

• Craven-A: "For your throat's sake."

• Phillip Morris: "Scientifically proved far less irritating to the nose and throat."

• L&M: "Just what the doctor ordered."

• Lucky Strike: "To keep a slender figure that no one can deny."

— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to rmartin@co.lake.mi.us.