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Coupons, BOGO offers and Peter Jennings

August 8th, 2005 at 01:07 pm

As I went to sleep last night, I heard on the radio that Peter Jennings (TV news anchor in the US) had died of lung cancer. It was only in April he announced the diagnosis, and he's already gone. He always looked rather youthful and healthy to me, and he'd supposedly stopped smoking 20 years ago, only to take it up again in the last few years. Even with all those non-smoking years, it still killed him. The only silver lining I can see about lung cancer is that it usually seems to kill quickly, rather than making you suffer for years on end.

The other day as I was flipping TV channels, and saw a repeat Oprah segment about what happens to your organs if you have unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking too much, or letting yourself get fat. They showed a pink, healthy looking lung of a non-smoker (who was, admittedly, dead from something else). Next to it they showed a gray, black-flecked, dead looking lung of a lifelong smoker.

I grew up around smokers, and although I had one uncle who had lung cancer, it's not what eventually killed him. I keep forgetting that smoking does actually KILL people; you are actually kind of lucky if something else happens to get you first.

My husband smokes. And I'm feeling really guilty that I've promoted his habit by signing him up for Kool coupons that come in the mail. Actually, I'd signed up under both our names. I figured he was going to smoke anyway, I might as well help him save a little money on it.

We both agreed it would be a bad idea to use the coupons for cartons, because we knew it would just encourage him to go through them faster. But it seems to me even the $1 off a pack coupons have upped his consumption. The fault is not completely mine--Kool has been having a lot of Buy One Get One Free packages recently, which just provides even more encouragement to buy and consume more.

I know too well the lure of coupons and other marketing gimmicks, and how it can make you buy more than you intended. If it just just affects your financial life, that's one thing. But this is something that can kill you. They banned TV ads for cigarettes for a good reason, but these coupons and BOGO offers seem to be even more powerful. And it makes me mad, at myself for participating in the marketing scheme, and at the powers that be that allow this kind of marketing to be used for cigarettes in the first place.

1 Responses to “Coupons, BOGO offers and Peter Jennings”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Someone very close to me died of lung cancer and it wasn't quick. And it was far from painless. I'd stop using the coupons.

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