The reference to Santa Claus may seem bizarre. I was trying to think of another marketing campaign as successful as the Tobacco companies. By successful I mean being able to get into the very fabric of society in a way that seems normal and matter of fact. There were two that sprung to mind straight away. Christianity and Coca-Cola.
Christianity we will leave in its wrapper I think, but the second refers to the title.

If you think about Christmas and Santa Claus you will see an image in your mind. An image of a rotund, cherry cheeked, white whiskered, gentle old man who holds all the good things about man in one hand and the hopes and dreams of children in the other. It will be an image that captures all your memories, smells and sensations about this time of year. Images such as Christmas cards showing Santa Claus in some Victorian style setting with open fires and hanging stockings.

The truth however is that the modern day image of Santa Claus was a marketing strategy by Coca-Cola.
It was 1931 and a Swedish artist was commissioned by Coca-Cola to come up with something that would sell more coke. He invented the big round, red cheeked, red outfitted image that we all know today.

The idea being that every time an image of the new Father Xmas was shown he would have a bottle of coke in his hand, The same way an actor would always seem to have a cigarette in their hand in the Tobacco advertising in films and on T.V. The shows the power of marketing and how we come to accept what we see as true.

Questions without answers
The other reason for the Santa reference is a question I have asked some friends and myself while researching this book.

"At what point did you realize Santa did not exist?"

"Do you remember the moment you knew he did not exist?"

"Did anyone tell you he didn't exist or did you just know?"
I have yet to meet anyone who could tell me the exact moment they knew he wasn't real. The reason we thought he was real was because we trusted the people telling us, our parents. We had no reason to question what they told us or what we saw.

The same way a smoker has no reason to question the images they see on the screen or in adverts of people smoking. The same questions I have used above can be used for smoking but in the opposite direction.

"At what point did you decide to become a smoker?"

"Do you remember the moment you linked smoking and stress in your mind?"

"Did anyone tell you what smoking was or have you just made your own mind up about it?"

The first question is a hard one because I do not think anyone decides to become a lifelong smoker. It just happens. Most people are curious and as I will explain later it is how far this curiosity takes you that determines if you smoke again or not. I have a 6 year old daughter, She is very intelligent and in some ways older than her years. She has a very good idea of things and I asked her about smoking. I asked her "What do you think about smoking." A fairly unloaded question. She answered "I think it is dirty and smelly, it is also bad for you." An answer you would expect from a six year old, I then asked her another question, "Are you curious about why people smoke" She replied without hesitation. "yes" I then said "Does that mean you would try one to see what it was like" and again without hesitation she commanded "yes"

So from the image of being dirty and smelly and unhealthy to the curiosity of smoking already in a six year old child there is a point at which the two will meet. It may not but probably will. I thought to myself, "why did she think like this" and while I was thinking this we watched a U rated film or in the US it is a G for general viewing. To my disbelief there was smoking in the film, A child's film about child things like fairies and magic and miracles and there was smoking in it. WHY? Why should there be any reference to smoking in anything viewed by children. Should it not be held to the same censorship as sex, violence and drugs, If there was a scene of naked flesh in the same film it would be given a higher rating and children under 12 would not be able to see it. Yet smoking which kills more people than drugs and drink put together is shown as normal.

Author's Bio: 

Finally finished the book after 2 years. It can be purchased at http://www.fstopsmoking.sphosting.com/Book_Order_Page2.htm