“A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?” – Oscar Wilde
The cigarette for the smoker is not just a consumer product, it is not just a manufactured consumer good, and shopping for cigarettes is nothing like buying new clothes or shopping for groceries. A cigarette is the delivery mechanism for relief from the mundane, the everyday life, stress, painful emotions, loneliness and above all, it is comfort. The 20-pack holds within it the promise of heaven on earth to the monkey. We are not only smoking a cigarette, we are consuming a life style. The cigarette does exactly what it is intended to do, to feed the illusion of a perfect life free from painful emotions. The cigarette feeds the illusion that we are super humans that are free from painful emotions. When we put out the cigarette, we put out our illusions and come back to the mundane life, we are already craving the next cigarette. After smoking a few thousand cigarettes we no longer notice the underlying processes taking place. Smoking has lost all glamour and is now a mechanical joyless exercise. Light up, huff puff, put out, rinse and repeat. We can’t give an exact reason to why we continue smoking long after the glamour has gone. We keep smoking and we seemingly do it with more desperation.
The tobacco corporations take notice of the minutest details going into the process of smoking a cigarette and they make an exact science of it. They make an exact science of selling us dissatisfaction in order for us to buy more dissatisfaction. The whole idea takes on “Monty Python’s: The Flying Circus” levels of ridiculousness when we realize that one industry (the tobacco industry) is trying to get us hooked on cigarettes while another industry (the NRP industry) is trying to help us quit cigarettes. This is a perfect setup for a Bond villain to own both the cigarette factory and the NRP factory. The whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t for the millions who pay the ultimate price, death, for smoking.
And now it is too late because we are already hooked. Say hello to the most effective consumer product known to man: the 20-pack. It fits easily into the pocket and doesn’t weigh much. When compared to other packages, we really cannot find any package that contains 20 pieces of a product in such a small, convenient and highly portable packaging. It is consumer product perfection. The convenience and ease of use of the 20-pack makes for an integral part of the smoking experience, any smoker will attest to the fact that it is very easy to grab a smoke from a 20-pack and light it up and smoke it, using only one hand. The 20-pack is magic to the monkey, not only in containing relief, it also provides magical wonder as the monkey is entranced by the industrial precision of the brand new 20-pack. Just as children are enthralled and filled with joyful anticipation when unpacking a candy bar, the monkey is absolutely taken away when opening a brand new 20-pack. The brand new promise of relief from old pain is only too metaphorical. Hope dwindles away for every cigarette until the death of, the inevitable rebirth of the brand new 20-pack. Jesus Christ! Those folks at the tobacco corporation are good at what they do.