cigar and cigarette

cigar and cigarette

cigar and cigarette, tubular rolls of tobacco designed for smoking. Cigars consist of filler leaves held together by binder leaves and covered with a wrapper leaf, which is rolled spirally around the binder. Cigarettes consist of finely shredded tobacco enclosed in a paper wrapper, and they often have a filter tip at the end. They are usually shorter and narrower than cigars. In pre-Columbian times, indigenous peoples of the West Indies and of parts of Central and South America smoked tobacco and other plant products in a similar form. Spanish travelers to the Americas introduced the cigar to Spain by the late 1500s, whence it spread to other European countries. Most cigars have been made by machine since about 1902; cigarettes, since the last quarter of the 19th cent. The cigarette industry increased phenomenally in the 20th cent., especially after World War I. The composition of cigarettes in the United States has changed. Imported Turkish tobacco was favored at one time, but American tobacco is more popular today.

Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, aldehydes, and a number of organic tar compounds. The use of filter-tipped cigarettes increased in the United States after medical reports in the early 1950s suggested a link between lung cancer and cigarette smoking. In 1964, Luther Terry, the U.S. surgeon general, issued a report that condemned cigarettes as causing cancer and several respiratory diseases. During the 1980s, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop reiterated and underscored these admonitions. Such efforts resulted in antismoking campaigns, a ban on television advertising, and warning labels on packages. As a countermeasure, the tobacco industry increased their advertising budgets 400% between 1967 and 1984. Tobacco production in the United States increased steadily until 1981, after which the industry began a downward turn. The consumption of cigarettes reached its peak between 1974 and 1977.

Recognizing that the smoking of tobacco is addictive, pharmaceutical companies have developed chewing gum and transdermal skin patches that introduce nicotine into the body while the person tries to "kick the habit" and refrain from smoking. Scientific studies suggest that smoking can cause complications in pregnancy, and that "passive smoking," the inhalation of smoke from others' cigars or cigarettes, has effects similar to smoking. Vigorous antismoking campaigning has been accompanied by a number of successful efforts to ban smoking in public places.

Cigarette manufacturers in the United States were faced with serious legal and financial threats in the mid- and late 1990s as a result of health-related lawsuits brought by U.S. states and by individuals, and also were confronted with further attempts at government regulation. Disputes with the states were settled in 1998 when the industry agreed to pay 46 states $206 billion over 25 years (four states had earlier been paid a total of $40 billion to resolve their separate lawsuits), but individuals continued to seek damages for illnesses that they maintained were caused by smoking cigarettes. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into affect in 2005 and now has more than 160 parties, seeks to reduce the number of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths by such measures as banning tobacco product advertising and putting warning labels on tobacco packaging. In 2009 the U.S. Congress passed legislation that allows the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes and other forms of tobacco; the law also imposed additional restrictions on the marketing of tobacco products.

See G. Doron, The Smoking Paradox: Public Regulation in the Cigarette Industry (1979, repr. 1984); R. Kluger, Ashes to Ashes (1996); R. Parker-Pope, Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke (2001); A. M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century (2007).

Ronald M. Popeil (born May 3, 1935 in New York City; ) is an American inventor and marketing personality, best known for his direct response marketing company Ronco. He is well known for his appearances in infomercials for the Showtime Rotisserie ("Set it, and forget it!") and for using Ed Valenti's (Ginsu knife creator) famous lines, "But wait, there's more!" and "Now how much would you pay?" Each phrase followed the addition of another item or feature to the catalog of a product's advantages or attachments. The advertisements frequently answered the "how much?" question with potential prices, followed by the dramatically lower actual price, which was also a Valenti creation.

Personal life and career

Popeil learned his trade from his father, Samuel, who was also an inventor and carny salesman of kitchen-related gadgets such as the Chop-O-Matic and the Veg-O-Matic. The Chop-O-Matic retailed for USD 3.98 and sold over two million units. The invention of the Chop-O-Matic caused a problem that marked the entrance of Ron Popeil into television. It turned out that the Chop-O-Matic was so efficient at chopping vegetables, that it was impractical for salesmen to carry the vegetables they needed to chop. The solution was to tape the demonstration. Once the demonstration was taped, it was a short step to broadcasting the demonstration as a commercial.

Popeil received the Ig Nobel Prize in Consumer Engineering in 1993. The awards committee described him as the "incessant inventor and perpetual pitchman of late night television" and awarded the prize in recognition of his "redefining the industrial revolution" with his devices.

In August 2005, he sold his company, Ronco, to Fi-Tek VII, a Denver holding company, for $55 million USD. He said he plans to continue serving as the spokesman and inventor, but wants to spend more time with his family. As of 2006, he lives in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife and five daughters.


Some of his better-known products, and their original sale pitches, include:

  • Chop-O-Matic hand food processor. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm going to show you the greatest kitchen appliance ever made... All your onions chopped to perfection without shedding a single tear."
  • Dial-O-Matic, successor to the Veg-O-Matic. "Slice a tomato so thin it only has one side."
  • Popeil Pocket Fisherman. "The biggest fishing invention since the hook...and still only $19.95!" (According to the program Biography, the original product was the invention of Popeil's father and only marketed by Ronco, but as of 2006, Popeil had introduced a redesigned version of the product.)
  • Mr. Microphone. "Hey, good looking, I'll be back to pick you up later. Broadcast your voice on any FM radio!!!"
  • Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler. "Gets rid of those slimy egg whites in your scrambled eggs." Popeil has said the inspiration for this product was his lifelong revulsion toward incompletely blended scrambled eggs.
  • Six Star 20-Piece Cutlery Set.
  • Solid Flavor Injector. This product accompanied the Showtime rotisserie grill and was used to inject solid ingredients into meat or other foods. A similar product, called the Liquid Flavor Injector, allowed for the injecting of liquid ingredients into meat (e.g., lime juice into chicken).
  • GLH-9 Hair in a Can Spray (Great Looking Hair Formula #9).
  • Drain Buster.
  • Smokeless Ashtray - "Does cigar and cigarette smoke irritate your eyes?" Commercials showed this device drawing smoke from burning cigarettes back into the ashtray itself.
  • Electric Food Dehydrator - "Instead of giving kids candy, give them apple snacks or banana chips. And it's great if you're a hunter, fisherman, backpacker, or camper. Makes beef jerky for around $3 a pound, and you know what went in it, because you made it yourself!"
  • Ronco Popeil Automatic Pasta Maker.
  • Showtime Rotisserie, a small rotisserie oven designed for cooking smaller sized portions of meat such as whole chicken and lamb. "Set it, and forget it!"
  • The Cap Snaffler - "Snaffles caps off any size jug, bottle, or jar… and it really, really works."
  • The Showtime Six Star Plus 25 Knife Set and the Solid Flavor Injector.

Impact on popular culture

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded the song "Mr. Popeil" on his second studio album, "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D. The song was a "style parody" (i.e., not a direct parody of a specific song, but emulating a performer's specific style) of the early music of the B-52's (and bore a striking resemblance to their first hit single, "Rock Lobster"). The verses are structured as pitches for unnamed but easily recognizable Ronco products, and draws upon all the catchphrases associated with the Ronco infomercials, including the phrases "It slices! It dices!", "Take advantage of this amazing TV offer!", and Ed Valenti's more commonly heard phrase"Now how much would you pay?". One of Weird Al's background vocalists was Lisa Popeil, sister of Ron Popeil This song is actually a tribute to Samuel Popeil, Ron Popeil's father, who was in the same business of inventing and selling products.
  • In the X-Files episode "Beyond the Sea," Scully is shown sleeping while Ron Popeil touts the wonders of his Spray-On Hair (Great Looking Hair Formula #9) for only $39.95. The ad continues for a few seconds, displaying the product's fabulous abilities before shifting to show Scully awakening to the ghost of her recently deceased father.
  • Lemon Demon references Popeil in their song, "Hyakugojyuuichi 2003", off of the album Clown Circus with the line, "Props to Neil, he’s the real deal, His friends all call him Mr. Popeil."
  • Twiztid makes reference to him on their album Mutant Vol. 2 on the song Stardust claiming "We're gonna be the new Ron Popeils." after it is made clear they will market a product of unknown details
  • The "Veg-O-Matic" was parodied by Dan Aykroyd in an episode of Saturday Night Live as the "Super Bass-O-Matic '76". This parody is mentioned in the Biography episode on Popeil.
  • "Dodge Veg-O-Matic" is a song by Jonathan Richman from the album Rock N Roll With The Modern Lovers (1977).
  • Professional wrestling tag team The Midnight Express dubbed their "finisher" the Veg-O-Matic.
  • The "Veg-O-Matic" provided the inspiration for the "Sledge-O-Matic" routine used by comedian Gallagher since the 1980s.
  • In the film Major League, while hazing rookie Rick Vaughn, Roger Dorn asks if he had cut his hair using a "Veg-O-Matic".
  • Also on Saturday Night Live (September 25, 1982), Eddie Murphy did a commercial spoof for the "Popeil Galactic Prophylactic".
  • In the episode "A Big Piece of Garbage," from the television series Futurama, Popeil is said to be the inventor of technology that allows heads to be kept alive in jars indefinitely (Popeil's own head, voiced by himself, appears in the episode). In the later episode "The Luck of the Fryrish" Fry keeps his lucky seven-leaf-clover in a "Ronco Record Vault"
  • In the episode "Won’t You Pimai Neighbor?," from the television series "King of the Hill," Dale Gribble states that if Bobby Hill incorrectly chooses from among the items possibly owned by the late Lama Sanglung, Bobby Hill will win a cap snaffler and that the cap snaffler, "Snaffles caps of any size jug, bottle or jar...and it really really works.".
  • The Ronco Showtime infomercial plays in the background of a scene in the Paul Thomas Anderson film Magnolia.
  • In the film Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, the character Crow T. Robot uses the phrase "Snaffles caps off any size jug, bottle or jar...and it really really works."
  • In the episode of The Simpsons entitled "Radio Bart", Bart Simpson receives a "Superstar Celebrity Microphone" for his birthday. The toy and the TV advertisements for it were modeled after Ronco's "Mr. Microphone".
  • In the movie Old School during the morning-after hangover scene, Ron Popeil is on the TV; Vince Vaughn and company are watching.
  • During a scene in Elizabethtown, you can see Popeil showing his knives on Orlando Bloom's television. (Bloom's character was having suicidal thoughts.)
  • The Daily Show featured a clip with the famous line "Set it and forget it!" — from the Showtime Rotisserie commercial — after showing the "catch phrase" discussions of the Senate debating over the War in Iraq.
  • Robin Williams, in his role as Mork in the TV show Mork and Mindy goes off on one of his (un)usual tangents with a kitchen gadget, saying, "It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries, whatever those are!".
  • In Aladdin, the Bazaar salesman (another chararacter portrayed by Robin Williams) at the beginning describes a "Combination hookah and coffee maker!" He says "It also makes julienne fries! It will not break...(the item breaks) broke."
  • Popeil's fans have been inspired to repeat one of his more memorable lines, "Shoestring potatoes, shoestring carrots!"
  • The Beastie Boys reference him in their song 'Crawlspace', when Adrock says "I got more product than Ron Popeil"
  • The character RJ Raccoon in the film adaptation of Over the Hedge uses a Popeil Pocket Fisherman several times throughout the film.
  • In Blue Man Group's How To Be A Megastar tour, the blue men purchase a "rock concert manual" from a parody company entitled Rodco for $4,000.
  • In 1993, the Ig Nobel Award for Consumer Engineering was presented to Ron Popeil, "incessant inventor and perpetual pitchman of late night television, for redefining the industrial revolution with such devices as the Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone, and the Inside-the-Shell Egg Scrambler."
  • In "X2: X-Men United", Popeil is playing on the television briefly when the school is attacked.
  • In "The Kingdom", Popeil is playing on the television while Jamie Foxx is interviewing a family after the terrorist attack.
  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touts Windows 1.0 in a Popeil-like commercial.
  • In the film Little Miss Sunshine Ron Popeil is shown doing a Showtime Rotisserie Grill commercial on the TV in the background as the family is in the hospital waiting room.
  • In various episodes of the series Arrested Development George Bluth, Sr. and Richard Simmons tout a product called the "Cornballer" in a Popeil-esque style.
  • Swindle from the TV series Transformers Animated's personality and manneurisms are based on Popeil's.


Further reading

External links

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