2 Sophs, Unafraid of Lung Cancer, Produce 'Kiss of Death' Cigarettes
Two Harvard sophomores, in an attempt to express commercially the view taken by the Surgeon General on cigarette smoking, have produced their own brand of weeds. They call them "Kiss of Death" cigarettes.
The students, Richard B. Hirst and Charles L. Geer, got the idea about a year ago from Geer's freshman roommate. Derek Reist, soon after the Surgeon General's Report on Cigarette Smoking had been issued.
Since Reist was "not the commercial type," Hirst and Geer acted on his suggestion. They formed Blue Knight Enterprises, which, by the middle of the summer, had began a market last of the cigarettes.
"We sent them to distributors in Cambridge, Boston, Greenwich Village in New York, and San Francisco," said Hirst. "College students would buy a pack or two, but older folks would buy a pack or two and give them to friends. A lot of older people bought them at Leavitt & Pierce." Geer noted that Kiss of Death sales did not cut late the market of other brands.
The regular-sized, un filtered cigarettes contain "an orginal blend of the choicest Turkish and domestic tobaccos, producing a distinctively mild, rich, and pleasant smoke," according to a blurb on the package back.
The pack resembles Pull Malt's, except that the Kiss of Death seal is a skull and crossbones and its motto in "A rose by any other name would small an sweet." One pack of Kiss of Deaths (or Kisses of Death) sells for 40 cents.
Although the market last proved positive, Geer and Hirst stopped producing Kiss of Death cigarette last September. Only large scale distribution would make continued production worthwhile, they said, and they are hesitant about risking the sizable investment that such distribution would require. The cancer score, they noted, is dead, sad it was only that scare that made their cigarette popular.
"But if we could hit a large number of cigarette smokers," Hirst noted, "we'd be very happy and very rich."