What comes to mind when you think of models? Fashion week in NYC? Outlandish outfits, big hair, skyscraper heels? Fact of the matter: we are all models (yep, even you and I) every day in every way. When we smoke, we model that behavior to children, youth, and young adults all around us. To our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our nieces and nephews, our grandchildren, our neighbors, our friends.
My good friend Walter (a master of marketing) has often commented to me that people need to see a product or service on average about 7 times before they are ready to buy it. Now ask yourself how many times your child (or another youngster in your life) has seen someone smoking - in public places, in movies, on television. No wonder that by the time they are teenagers, they are often willing and perhaps eager to try this grown-up activity. They have been "sold" on the behavior just by watching models. What a great deal for the tobacco companies! They have an army of addicts out there in the world modeling their product to children (a new generation of customers!) while the adult addicts pay a hefty price for the priviledge!
Smoking is a perpetual-motion societal machine: role models selling the behavior of addiction to youngsters, who join the ranks of the addicted and become new role models.
So next time you light up, look around you. You're on-stage, in the spotlight, a real live model. Who is your audience today?