The other night my wife and I were partaking in our favourite nocturnal activity. No, not THAT one. We were watching TV. We were glued to some mindless drivel when a commercial came on. Now normally we reach for the remote and turn down the sound because the volume level of commercials must be 10 times louder than the shows we watch. But we weren't quick enough and we began watching an ad for a smoking cessation product.
I quit smoking about 15 years ago, after several unsuccessful attempts over the close to 30 years I puffed those cancer sticks. I started at 11 or 12 years of age and asked my smoking parents for permission to smoke when I was 13. I think they were disappointed, but what could they do? After all they already stunk up the house, the yard and my lungs. The best way my Dad could put it was "I'm giving you my permission but not my acceptance." And so 30 years of going from a social "with-it" to being a social "misfit" - a real piranha at the end - was underway.
So that's my story, and the time I quite for good, I quit cold turkey - no aids, no drugs, patches or hypnosis.
Now here's the kicker. This commercial almost made me want to start again. Why? Because the side-effects from the product sounded more health threatening than smoking.
The commercial starts off innocently enough. A former puffer, with just a hint of smoker's throat and yellowing teeth talks about how much he used to smoke, how he quit and how long he's been off the wicked weed. Indeed he swears by the product and recommends the product to us.
But the majority of the commercial spends its time warning of the side-effect. It tells the viewer, words to the effect, that if you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression or changes in behaviour, thinking, mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking the drug and call your doctor right away.
Duh? Suicidal tendencies?
See what I mean about just keeping on smoking? I never experienced those side-effects when I was a smoker! Hell, I could be healthier if I started again.