Marilyn Solliday, 75 years old


Marilyn has been smoking since she was young. She started when the health effects of cigarettes still remained unknown, when smoking was seen as “cool” and “glamorous”. She has tried to quit various times over the years, but is still smoking to this day. She commented during the interview that 60% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are not smokers and noted that since she does not smoke nearly as much as she used to and has not experienced any health problems, she will continue to smoke until she sees it as an issue. She also shared with us that she would not smoke as much if her good friend did not smoke cigarettes around her. Marilyn was very open to be interviewed and was comfortable discussing her cigarette addiction, which gave our group a good amount of beneficial information for the documentary.


Lisa Chambers, 49 years old


Lisa, the daughter of Marilyn Solliday, is not a smoker. Lisa tells the story of her unforgettable first experience with cigarettes when she was 5 years old. She was mesmerized by the way the construction worker at her house rolled his own cigarettes and day after day she asked if she could try one. Bothered by her increase of interest day after day, her mother wanted to teach her a lesson. She told the construction worker that he could give Lisa a cigarette only if she finished the whole thing. Lisa took up the offer, and couple of puffs through she realized she didn’t like the taste cigarettes at all. She did what her mother told her and smoked the whole thing, but she never wanted to smoke a cigarette again. Smoking your first cigarette when you are 5 with the permission of your mother may not seem normal, but it taught her a lesson that she will never forget and will always appreciate.


Sherwin Leff


Sherwin is a marketing and communications professor at Columbia College Chicago. He has been working in the field for many years and has seen the ups and downs of cigarette advertising. He comments on the fact that cigarette ads showed images that made smoking look like it was good for you and was the cool thing to do. He also adds that he used to be a smoker, but after seeing the health effects of smoking, he quit awhile back. He started smoking when he was in grade school. It was normal, and his friends did it too. Now, he supports the numerous campaigns such as the Truth campaigns that publicize the negative effects of smoking.


Ned Hanley, 18 years old


Ned is a freshman at Columbia College Chicago and is from Ottawa, Illinois. Ned started smoking when he was 16 whenever his friends would offer up cigarettes to him. What started out as just a way of socializing soon turned into a habit.  At first, Ned attempted to hide his smoking habit from his parents since they did not smoke as well as most of his family. As of today, his parents are aware that he smokes but he keeps it away from his extended family. Ned is respectful of his parents’ opinion on smoking and tries his best not to smoke around them nor bring it up. Also, hailing from a small town, Ned has been used to cigarettes being much cheaper than they are in downtown Chicago. The price of cigarettes has not affected his habit at all, though. He says, “The increase of prices doesn’t really motivate people to quit smoking, it just sucks for the people who still smoke.”


Max Ginkel, 18 years old


Max is a freshman student at Columbia College Chicago. He was first attracted to cigarettes in his senior year of high school due to the image and social interactions that come with it. Initially, he didn’t smoke for health reasons, but decided to start when he happened upon a cigarette case on the ground. He enjoys smoking for various reasons – sex appeal, pleasure, and stress relief among them – but has been cutting back recently due to the cost here in Illinois. He intends in future years to quit altogether. Max also discussed “bumming” culture with the interview team. He said that cigarettes are a currency in and of themselves, and that he doesn’t feel too guilty asking for cigarettes from others sometimes since he often gives away a few of his own (even to the homeless). It’s something of a tit for tat system among smoking social groups, who all know that cigarettes can be very expensive. He added that smoking isn’t good for anyone, and discouraged viewers from picking up the habit.


The Truth Campaign


A member of the faculty gave the interview team a number to contact The Truth Campaign. However, when the team tried to call, the number was said to be “nonworking.” By the time we were given the correct number, Instead, we went to their website. On their “About” page, it says their “philosophy isn’t anti-smoker or pro-smoker. It’s not even about smoking. It’s about the tobacco industry manipulating their products, research, and advertising to secure replacements for the 1,200 customers they ‘lose’ every day in America. You know, because they die.” It would have been very interesting to talk to a representative to gain a better insight into the campaign, but it unfortunately did not pan out. 


Also, special thanks to our additional interviewees:

“Anne”: started smoking in high school so she could fit in with the older, cooler kids

“James”: smokes because it is a cheap buzz that’s legal

Darren: travels to Indiana to buy cigarettes for cheaper, enjoys smoking but views it as more of a social event

“Brad”: quits smoking every summer but finds it hard to quit when he is around his friends at school the rest of the year

Teck: an international student from Lebanon where a pack of cigarettes costs $1.50

“Allie”: does not agree with the switch to e-cigs, she instead sees it as a change in addiction rather than a healthier option

Brandon DeRue: views e-cigs as a less obnoxious way of smoking

Patrick Gatbunton: sees e-cigs as a more efficient way of smoking, but not necessarily smarter way

Rachael: believes e-cigs are a healthier alternative because you are not inhaling all of the smoke that you would with a cigarette

Natalie: has seen people in high school smoke e-cigs in class




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