As a blogger, one of my duties, and my obligations to you readers is to use my platform to amplify issues that matter to you. If it matters to you, then it matters to me. Today’s post is about the tobacco industry, and the devastation they cause. If you’ve been here for a hot minute, you’ll know why. If you’re just joining us, then welcome. Grab yerself a little something, and stick around for a bit. To bring you newcomers up to speed, I recently lost a loved one. Specifically, that was my mom, and she died a little over a month ago due to a smoking-related illness.
That illness was COPD. She was also diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in 2017, and in her case, the doctors caught it way early, before it had spread. It was a happenstance diagnosis, as many cases diagnosed that early usually are.
My mom’s care team and I made the calls to our immediate family members living multiple states away, and also to a couple of her former colleagues. One of those family members was my grandma, still alive and kickin’ in her 90s.
“One of many,” said my grandma in response to Brittany, the social worker who called her. We mentioned the talk of how my mom’s life was cut shorter than it otherwise would have been if it weren’t for her decades-long history of smoking.
Indeed, my grandma was right. My mom was one of many who died on that day in early November, where commercialized tobacco was the contributor and/or cause of their deaths. As sick as my mom was, her death was unexpected, since she was on the uphill swing from yet another COPD episode.
By and large, we as a society have caught on to the bullshit antics from the tobacco industry as a whole, their sleazy marketing tactics targeting minority communities, their cultural appropriation, and their attempts at polishing turds with the good they brag lyrical about doing.
Whatever good they claim to do is just that: semantics. It basically amounts to polishing turds. It’s meant to distract us from their real agenda: hooking people onto their products, and ultimately profiting off of people’s addiction and the devastation it causes.
I’m currently working on an e-book about what I went through, and what I’m going through now. If you’d like to know more about it, just say the word.
One of their sleazy marketing tactics included merch. I remember seeing it at the houses of some of the kids in the neighborhood, obviously belonging to the adults who lived there. I’m talking apparel, gym bags, and other branded things like drinkware, cassette tapes, bum bags, and the like.
I went over to a kid’s house one time, and I saw a catalog of clothing items from their mom’s brand laying around on their dining room table. I remember their mom sent for several pieces from it, not too long after I saw it.
I remember another kid from the neighborhood even wearing some of the apparel the adults at their house had.
A family I remember from the neighborhood even had apparel from multiple brands. Every adult in that house smoked pretty much whatever brand they could get their hands on, and unsurprisingly, they all owned the merch. We stayed in touch for awhile after they moved from the neighborhood, and I remember seeing branded apparel I didn’t even know they had. They probably got it at some point after their move, or they had it buried somewhere and only found it afterward.
We didn’t have anything like that from my mom’s brand, but I remember she got this package with their logo on it. It was a long box, and it turned out there was a keychain inside. It was small enough that it didn’t even remotely justify the size of the box they used to send it in.
Same way I got no clapback from our former satellite TV provider before the move, when I told them our new property managers wouldn’t allow it. But that’s a story for another time.
I haven’t seen that keychain since it came in the mail, or found it, for that matter. It was probably lost in a move at some point, but if I ever find it, it’s going straight to the trash.
Just like I did with her ashtrays that I somehow missed in the move when I threw those out, and everything like that right after she died.
She also got coupons from them for years. That is, until I put a stop to it after her lung cancer diagnosis. They sent out more coupons, and they arrived literally the day after we got news of her diagnosis. I drew that line. I called that number on the back to stop their mailings, telling them that we’re taking our names off mailing lists to save paper.
Surprisingly enough, I got no clapback from them. It’s pretty hard to argue with that line of reasoning, when you think about it.
They apologized in advance for any other mailings we may get from them, but that was the last one we ever saw from them.
I swear, if I ever see another mailing from them addressed to her from here on out, I’ll be calling the number on the back, and I’ll be raising holy hell with them.
After my mom died, and after the crappy Thanksgiving passed, I went over to the used record shop I frequent from time to time, and decided to see what was new for their Black Friday sale.
I found two albums that had been there for months. These albums were from different smoke brands, one of which was my mom’s brand. The one from my mom’s brand was a holiday-themed album, no less.
Damn, talk about a cruel irony on so many levels. I felt like someone sucker-punched me, and my blood ran cold when I saw it. What right do these sick af companies have, even thinking about holiday-themed anything to promote their stupid shyt in the first place?
What right do these mofos have, when their products take holidays away from people? This was the first thought I had when I saw it the first time several months ago.
They took a holiday season away from my mom. We had plans this year for the computer tablet she wanted, pizza dip instead of pizza since her dentures were unwearable, and the sugar cookies I made over the weekend.
2020 ended up being her last holiday season in life, no thanks to the tobacco industry. She won’t get to share holiday seasons with me anymore, nor will she get to share them with my kids when I start having them.
In conclusion: fuck the tobacco industry, now and forever. I’m saying this on behalf of my mom, who can’t speak anymore because of them.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to extend some warm holiday wishes to the tobacco industry bigwigs, marketers, and small fries, from my family and my heart: Fuck you, and the horses you rode in on. You’ve made this not only the worst two years of my life, you’ve made this year the worst I’ve ever had in my whole life. You’ve played a huge role in this being the shitty, worthless, wretched holiday season it’s been for me.
I wish everything my mom suffered on you. I wish every second of what I’m going through now on you, with endless job hunting only to get rejected right and left, jerked around, treated like garbage, lied to, and ignored, along with the nonstop fears related to my finances as a result. They’re in the shitter, no thanks to you as well. I’ve thought this ever since my mom’s illness and the pandemic forced her into retirement nearly two years ago, and the endless turmoil we’ve endured the whole time.
I hope the holiday presents, the gourmet turkeys and hams, vacations, and fancy parties I’m guessing you’re having right now are worth it. Consider what funded all of that blood money. Yes, I snooped around on the few social media profiles I was able to find, not gonna lie.
My mom’s decades-long addiction helped pay for your lifestyles, and her contributions to your gravy train are fuckin’ history. It’s too bad it took her death to end it, but that’s only because you designed your products to be as addictive as it gets.
That’s literally the only silver lining I can see in this mess. I will make damn sure my kids never fall victim to your disgusting industry. You’ll never see a dime from us, I can promise you that. You’ve destroyed my mom’s life and our past, you’ve ruined my present, but you’ll never touch my future, or my kids’ future.
In closing, I hereby wish you the same Horrid Holidays, Rotten Christmas, and a Garbage New Year I’m having now.
Over to you, readers. How are you holding up this holiday season? Better than this, I hope. If your holiday season has been nothing but a disaster, whether it’s related to a loved one’s death on account of the tobacco industry or something else, then my heart goes out to you. I want you to know you’re not alone in this. E-hugs are on the table if you want ’em. Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways, so drop ’em like they’re hot below, and let’s talk.
Here’s something to share on Pinterest, if you want. No pressure.