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Mike Tasos: Vaping is a bad, unhealthy trend
Mike Tasos

Immediately after my last column where a free subscription, make that two free subscriptions, to the Forsyth County News were offered to any millennial who saw fit to send me an email, the response was overwhelming.

I guess underwhelming would be a better choice of words.

Crickets. Silencio. Nothing.

Bless the readers who wanted to know how many young’uns were cashing in on this great deal. I must take time to respond to those emails. And I will.

I’ll give those kind followers the news that newspapers provide apparently don’t matter to our future leaders.

And while ignoring the offer was disappointing, being blown off was completely understandable.

There’s only so much nonsense a young brain can absorb. Take a few moments to really watch TV commercials. Think about the message and how it’s being presented.

Never mind that loopy New York congresswoman and her cronies. The real air pollution is how those advertising executives are presenting what’s cool.

Many years ago, I read a book “Positioning: The Battle for the Customer’s Mind.” The book has been out a long time. I read it in the early ’90s. The takeaway: To advertisers and marketers, we are all fair game.

Whether it’s the Marlboro Man or Joe Camel, those tobacco ad execs have always set the bar for messages that try to appeal to customers’ vulnerability.

No more “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.” Catchy phrases have disappeared in a puff of smoke. 

But the bloodsuckers who have put the almighty dollar ahead of decency, have fired up something new. 

At launch, it was touted as a safer alternative to cigarettes.

In case you haven’t heard of “vaping” or a “Juul,” they’re fairly easy to spot. Look for the idiot with a pen-like device and billows of smoke escaping their mouths. It looks like they’ve eaten the train from Petticoat Junction. (Sorry for the ’60s television reference, but the show plays on one of the thousands of channels DirecTV throws at me).

I believe the local school system has a zero-tolerance policy if a student is caught vaping. Of course, there are lectures, admonishments and embarrassment.

There are TV ads showing rotten lungs in the form of Claymation characters. 

I’d like to go one better. To heck with Claymation, let’s do a Pepsi. Give them the real thing.

There must be a seemingly limitless number of spokespeople who could talk to the kids. Scrap the suspensions. Let’s provide some real-life examples why nicotine (and it’s now coming to light how bad vaping is because of the vast amounts of nicotine contained in those insidious Juuls) can, well, kill you.

No streaming videos. If I were trying to make a Herculean effort to get a handle on this activity, I’d enlist the help of those who have some real-life experience. Go talk to a lung cancer patient and see how nicotine can seed up the journey to a dirt nap.

Somewhere out there, there’s bound to be a patient or two who could share with the kids the folly of smoking and how these poor souls are paying, I mean really paying, for past activities and habits. 

Maybe take some students to a cancer ward. Lung cancer is a painful death. There’s nothing glamorous. Nothing cool. Let the kids know (and see) they are playing Russian Roulette with their lives. Maybe that can be a “Scared Straight” vehicle.

And besides, someone needs to make a video, showing how ridiculous these people look. That much smoke could cause a retired firefighter to snap and douse them with a bucket of water.

Once again, our kids have gotten snookered. Shame on whoever is selling this to minors. Hell, selling it to anyone.

Then again, maybe these merchants will ride the next wave. They’ll probably figure out a way to make money off artificial lungs.

We’ve seen ads like this before. Remember the drug guy saying “Gather ‘round kiddies, the man with the goodies is here?” Same thing with the vape stores.

Shame on you!

Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday.  Nice piece this week by David Almeda in the Forsyth County News, profiling Hunter Cagle and how he talks to his dad, Papa Kenny, all the time. Don’t worry, Hunter, I find myself talking to him quite a bit. Comments can be sent to He is also on Facebook.