When Did You Quit Smoking?

TV screen Athens 02-09-1069I have no idea why I took several photos of a TV screen, but this image caused me to pause because you won’t see it today. Cigarette ads were as ubiquitous in the 1960s as car ads are today. (To be honest, I don’t know what ads are running these days. One of the advantage of TiVo is that I bleep right past the ads like they were names in a Russian novel.

The last national cigarette ad

Want to take a guess what the last cigarette ad was and when it ran? I’ve already looked it up for you.

On New Year’s night, 1971, millions of Americans were tuned in to NBC to watch the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. At 11: 59 Johnny went to a commercial break, something he had done thousands of times since he took over the Tonight Show in 1962. But there was something special about this break, a 1 minute commercial for Virginia Slims cigarettes. Cigarette commercials had been a mainstay of advertising in the first 25 years of television. But this commercial was different. It was the last cigarette commercial broadcast nationally in the United States. One minute later at midnight on January 2, 1971, The “Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act” went into effect. This law banned the advertising of cigarettes and tobacco product on television and radio.

Dad quit cold turkey

LV Steinhoff smokes at kitchen table March 1961It was rare to see a photo of Dad without a cigarette in his hand or nearby when I was growing up.

One New Year’s Day I found him crankier than usual. I had stayed out a little later than I was supposed to and he jumped all over me. That usually didn’t happen.

A couple of weeks later, he let us in on his secret: he had decided to give up smoking at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. He threw all his cigarettes in the fireplace without telling any of us until he was sure he could do it.

He never smoked again, although he chewed a lot of gum and ate a lot of hard candy for quite awhile.

I was lucky. I never took up the habit. Maybe that’s why I’m still around. Dad and his brothers died at or before 60.

18 Replies to “When Did You Quit Smoking?”

  1. I quit December 18, 1978. Miss it occasionally, but will never smoke again. So glad I quit.

  2. I never smoked. When my father quit, he did so with the aid of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum. I still hate spearmint gum.

  3. Does anyone remember;
    1) What was a “silly millimeter longer” according to the ad?
    2) Come to where the flavor is, come to ________
    3) LSMFT means ___________________
    4) ___________ tastes good like a cigarette should.
    5) Who advertised, you’ve come a long way baby.
    6) Making a phone call and asking, “Do you have Prince Albert in a can?”

    Those are a few I immediately thought of based on the topic.

  4. I quit in 1970 on a five dollar bet with a fellow employee. Neither of us ever smoked again, he lived till his late 80’s, and I am still
    around at 83 so maybe it helped.

  5. Never smoked cigarettes, or even wacky weed. I just don’t like inhaling stuff into my lunges. I coughed and hacked when I tried, so I listened to my body and just said “NO”.
    Now cigars are another story…I enjoy a good, or bad, cigar at sunset most days.

  6. I had promised my wife I would quit before our first child was born and she was due in February 1980. In October 1979, I figured I’d better get on it and quit cold turkey. I put on some weight and chewed on different items, but I haven’t smoked since.

  7. I could never get started,smoking killed my wind,it was not worth it ,caught some hell over that from friends, sometimes catching hell is worth it-no regrets.

  8. I quit 21 years ago on my birthday. It simply was becoming embarrassing to be seen as a smoker. For the same reason my weight is now 15 pounds less than in high school and slowly falling. I ain’t skinny, but I ain’t obese. I have read that, if present trends continue, in 20 years treatment for obesity-related problems will cost as much as ALL medical treatment costs today.

  9. Quit 25 years ago same time I quit drinking. Harder to quit cigs than alcohol but cigs never got me into trouble like alcohol. I was hypnotized to quit smoking
    (had to go to treatment for alcohol). It cost me $35.00
    Best investment I ever made. Other than an occasional
    craving i don’t really miss them.

    the fella that introduced me to cigs in 1965 just died of lung cancer

  10. I quit on New Year’s Day, January 1, 1974. Smokes were about 30 cents a pack and I preferred Kools. I miss the cigarette ads of the likes of Granny Clampett, Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Steve Allen etc. They were clever and entertaining. I remember when you quit Jim, it was in January of 1988. The cheapest place in Cape I remember to buy cigarettes was at Star Gas on Broadway. The attendants carried those old change makers on their belt.

  11. I quit on January 3, 1984 — the third time I’d tried. Third time’s a charm, etc., etc.

  12. OMG! Ken, I quit cold turkey on New Years Eve in 2000 by throwing my last packs into the fireplace also! And I didn’t tell anyone for weeks! My daughter was the only one who guessed I had quit. Your dad and I thought alike!

  13. I always told myself that when I started to have a “cigarette cough” I would quit. When I couldn’t make it thru a 45 min. to 1 hour Mass without coughing…I quit!…That was in 2001….12 years next month….Smartest move I have ever made.

  14. I quit for my 60th birthday with the aid of Chantix, worked great for me. Best gift ever given to myself. Now can hardly tolerate the odor and never a craving. How can anyone afford to smoke these days at over 5 bucks a pack?!

  15. I quit today, what did Mark Twain say about quitting…

    The weather looks cold and dark outside, is that snow I see over your dad’s shoulder?

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