Following yesterday’s thread about advertising that compares drinking straws and cigarettes, there are a number of other ways in which the two seem inextricably linked.
1. The drinking straw was invented by Marvin C. Stone a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders. His first “artificial straw” was patented in 1888. Prior to his invention, drinks were sipped through the tubular, reed-like straws found in nature…
Stone, a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders, was drinking with friends, using the traditional natural rye grass straw. Dissatisfied with the way straws would break down and leave a gritty residue in the drink, Stone fashioned his first straw by winding strips of paper around a pencil, removing the pencil, and gluing the strips together. This improved device was test-marketed at a local drinking establishment and enthusiastically received. Stone then refined his design by using paraffin-coated manila paper to prevent the straws from becoming soggy and disintegrating. He patented the product in 1888, and by 1890 his factory was producing more straws than cigarette holders.
Here, as in the ads we looked at yesterday, it’s the similar oral mechanics of sipping and smoking that set the stage for Stone’s invention.
2. Drinking straws were incorporated into experimental apparatus devised by the tobacco industry to study smoking and find ways of improving cigarettes. In these early tests, human subjects smoked cigarettes though a “probe” fitted with a disposable drinking straw.
(More about “puff profiles” and a 3rd connection between drinking straws and cigarettes, after the fold…)
Data collected in this way allowed the tobacco industry to determine a cigarette’s “puff profile”: Flow rate measured directly behind the butt end of the cigarette and depicted graphically as a function of time.
In later studies, “smoking machines” were used in place of human subjects.
3. Drinking straws are sometimes used as a behavioral tool for people who are trying to quit smoking…
I kept a supply of drinking straws (cut to king-size cigarette length) with me every day for almost a year. Occasionally I still reach for a straw, because I have discovered that they help me keep a companion resolution: to stick with my decision without substituting snack foods and drinks.
My trusty straws kept me from food as well as smokes. Every time a compulsion to gorge on cookies or crackers or candy tempts me, I grab my drinking straws and take a couple of deep, air-filled drags and I’m in control again.
The Last Straw
Kicking the Smoking Habit at 57
Emma Jean Wehrenberg, Sarasota Journal, 1982
See also: Puff Cigs