The 1970s were incredible according to folks who didn’t live through the decade. That said, there were aspects of it that still exert a strong hold over people’s affections. Most importantly, looking at the stats from recent surveys, it’s when a huge load of us began smoking.
Smoking was awesome. Smoking was everything. Everybody could afford to do it at 20p per pack of ten, and packs were for sale everywhere. If you couldn’t find them behind sheds on school playing fields there were vending machines bolted to walls in high streets. Packs were probably included in kits for new Mums as well. Not sure about the last one but it seems reasonable given everything else taking place at the time.
Unemployment soared as economic times bit hard and inflation rose like Lord Lambton’s appendage. The height of fashion was the donkey jacket, the car of choice was the Austin Allegro and the mullet was born.
But then there were Star Wars and Close Encounters. Apple computers, Ziggy Stardust, punk and Space Hoppers added colour and texture to ten years of change. And there were more cigarettes.
Youthful rebellion and a sense of immortality fed poor decision-making, like those who came before and followed on. But the truth was out about smoking and rates of people quitting suddenly grew, sales are taking a severe kick to the privates. If there was one thing Britain was beginning to learn then it was how to do a damn fine public health warning.
We learnt not to fall out of boats, not to talk to strangers and to always ALWAYS follow the country code. The Green Cross Code man gave way to the AIDS gravestones of the 80s. And, in what seemed like no time at all, Millennials were born. There is no point in public health campaigns now because the Millennials know everything already.
The trouble is, they were correct.
We don’t need public health campaigns educating the public about the dangers of smoking anymore. We don’t need to be told about emphysema, lung cancer or COPD. We know all about it because the Internet knows all about it. We don’t need the advertising agencies that create the campaigns and we certainly don’t need the experts who stand behind them collecting their fat cheques for stating the obvious.
We’re reliving the 70s because smoking is under attack like never before, but this time vaping is playing the part of Dave Prowse. In a Tie fighter. Those who got trapped by tobacco now have an enjoyable exit route – and for those who are experimenting, it is stopping them from taking up smoking in the first place. Vaping is Darth Vader cool but R2D2 honest.
Yes, it’s just like the 70s again. You can tell it is, just look at the England football team!