I’m the type of person that tries to not be judgmental. I understand that everyone lives their own life…has their own path…and walks to their own beat. We all have our vices. We all have our little hedonist escapisms that our mothers would disapprove of. Some drink daily. Some gamble (here, here). Some base jump. Some ride fixie. And some smoke.
Smoking is the most interesting to me. Pretty much with any vice you partake in, you know the risks involved. You make a responsible decision and hedge your bets. Yes I know snowboarding in the Andes may cost me my life in an avalanche. I take the risk because the pleasure is that good. But smoking is interesting because with smoking, there is an entire business model…in fact, an entire industry built to hide the real facts behind the humble cigarette. I don’t have beef with smokers. Some of my closest friends are smokers. Many who work for Staple and Reed Space are smokers. My beef is with an industry that is in the business of replacing dead humans with new humans.
Here are the facts:
The tobacco industry’s success depends on its ability to get people to try smoking long enough for them to become addicted. Plain and simple. 1,200 people die every single day from tobacco. It’s a simple game of math. If the tobacco industry doesn’t REPLACE those lost customers, they LOSE BUSINESS. When Nike loses a customer, it’s because he converted to Reebok. When Big Tobacco loses a customer, it’s either because he quit. Or because he died. It’s fucked up. Fortunately for them; Big Tobacco’s marketing tactics are strong. 3,800 young people try a cigarette every day. And 1,000 young people start smoking daily each day. Big Tobacco is winning. We want to reverse this.
Many people think a cigarette is no more than just tobacco rolled in paper. All natural right? Especially with these companies touting “organic” cigarettes. Fact is, the tobacco industry adds nearly 600 chemicals to cigarettes, some of which increase nicotine boost when inhaling. THERE ARE NO FUCKING RESTRICTIONS on what the tobacco industry can and cannot put into a cigarette. It is not regulated by the FDA. Ever notice how every single thing you put IN or ON your body has a full ingredients breakdown on the package? Everything from a breath mint to your shampoo has every molecule fully described. Interesting how cigarettes are exempt from this isn’t it? The fact is, Tobacco products are the only product on the market that kills when used as intended. Read that again and think about it. Most products say “may harm or kill when NOT used as intended.” Tobacco products kill when used AS intended!
Murder, Suicide, Fires/Arson, ALL Car Accidents and ALL Illegal Drugs AND AIDS. Think about how many people all those things kill in a year in the U.S. Well tobacco is responsible for more deaths than all those. COMBINED.
There’s a misconception that tobacco companies are like any other business trying to make a profit. They make a shitload of money when your younger brother gets hooked and then gets his crew of buddies to get hooked too. Increase the market share. But our next generation is the collateral damage.
So what’s TRUTH1585?
This is something I feel really passionately about and so I started to talk with the truth (a youth smoking prevention campaign) about what they’ve been doing for the past decade and how we could maybe do something together. This started a long road of eye opening for me. Learning ALOT. Studying ALOT. And understanding how the tobacco industry thinks. It’s so gangster you would not believe it! I’m gonna try and school you on some things in future posts. So I said, “let me start a brand with you guys“. Hell that’s what I know how to do. The brand can be the vehicle for spreading these facts. We need to OUTBRAND Big Tobacco. I want to create something that’s more empowering than smoking. Generate something young people want to affiliate with. I’ve been doing it with gear, kicks, art and retail for the past 15 years, so I am up for the challenge of outbranding Big Tobacco now. But I can’t do it alone. I need all my friends, peers and colleagues to help out. The first thing I wanted to do was go and talk to some of them about smoking and get some insight from different people I respect in the industry. In doing so, we also started talking about doing a t-shirt collection centered around this subject. Each shirt will be dropping at their respective stores and I’ll be showing you what we came up with for those in the coming posts. But big shoutout to all the friends that helped me with this: Alife, Bodega, Goliath, Ubiq, Burn Rubber, True, Major and of course Reed Space. A lot more good stuff to come! This is only the beginning.
We Love Smokers. Shit, we love everybody. Our philosophy isn’t anti-smoker or pro-smoker. It’s not even about smoking. It’s about the tobacco industry manipulating its products, research and advertising to secure replacements for the 1,200 people who lose their lives to tobacco every day in America. If you’re down to support, head over to truth1585.com for more info. Also go to the truth to learn a lot more and follow them on Twitter (@truthorange). Hit up the shops we’re working with and ask questions. Ask how you can get involved. Hit me up directly and find how to fight the good fight. My goal is very simple: BRING DOWN BIG TOBACCO. If we can reverse the numbers and get fewer people to try smoking, they WILL go down. Promise.