The Student Event Center on the Taylorsville Redwood Campus played host to the humorously presented Great American Smokeout lecture last Wednesday to inform both the student body and faculty of the dangers of tobacco.
Guest speaker and former “Winston Man” Dave Goerlitz used comedy to talk about the tobacco industry.
“There’s a lot of stink about tobacco and tobacco is tobacco, no matter what you call it,” he said to open the lecture. “Kind of like lipstick on a pig is still lipstick.”
Goerlitz, 62, has been paid in the past to influence both adults and children to think that smoking is cool and fun.
Goerlitz has been smoke-free for 21 years and his passion is to educate people around the world about the dangers of smoking and the manipulation that tobacco companies use in their advertisements. He has spoken to over 5 million children in seven countries and uses comedy and pictures from his past to make it easier for people to understand and to help his audiences to stay engaged.
“Let me communicate something to you all. Tobacco will kill you, gang,” Goerlitz stated.
“Tobacco companies are dream killers; Utah needs to wake up. There’s a lot of denial,” Goerlitz said.
Some of the statistics cited in the lecture included that 90 percent of smokers start under the age of 14. 20 to 30 percent of children in Utah smoke, but parents in Utah believe it to be only eight percent.
According to the American Lung Association, the top five cigarette companies spent over $12 billion in 2006 on advertising. These companies have managed to hide the fact that there are over 4000 chemicals inside of cigarettes and that 51 of them are cancer-causing.
“My job was to make smoking look cool and fun,” Goerlitz said of his old career. “I didn’t do the responsible thing as a parent and my kids were confused. Luckily they turned out great, regardless.”
In closing his lecture, Goerlitz gave insight on how students can quit smoking, gave examples of his past and how smoking has affected both his family and him. He encouraged the student body to take a stand against tobacco and to live a life free of addiction.
With the great response to the lecture event, student event coordinators hope students are inspired to participate in upcoming events.
November 8, 2011 will be the Great American Smokeout at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus Student Event Center. There will be games and prizes, surveys and pledges, along with plaster death masks that will later appear in the student art gallery. The event is free.