Joe Aziz walks away from the checkout counter at University Grocery with a fresh pack of Camel Turkish Royal cigarettes.He taps the pack upside down on his open palm, each time a resonating slap fills the air around him.His fingers work to peel off the cellophane wrapper, pop open the cardboard lid and tear away the silver foil.

He counts two cigarettes from the right in the front row of his newly-opened pack and pulls out the cigarette.He flips it over one-hundred-and-eighty degrees and puts the cigarette back into the pack upside down.Joe has just flipped his “lucky cigarette.”Until the rest of the cigarettes have been smoked, Joe will not smoke this cigarette.When someone is offered a cigarette, the “lucky cigarette” will not be touched.Joe knows that there is some factor of luck within this cigarette.When packaged at the factory, this cigarette is no different from the rest.However, now that Joe has opened the cigarettes and designated one as lucky, the cigarette changes into a symbol of fortune.Joe will refuse to smoke another person’s “lucky cigarette” for he has done this once in the past.On this occasion, Joe contracted a case of hives; he had never contracted hives before and had never caught hives again.Thus, Joe has developed a superstition that many have also developed.Regardless of the circumstances, the repeating question arises: is this a mere superstition or is it a real source of either luck or misfortune?A superstition, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “an excessive reverence for, or fear of, that which is unknown or mysterious.”Perhaps this is accurate, for each of the men seem to have a reserved respect for the “lucky cigarette.”On the other hand, it could be a compulsion, being an urge to do something that may be better left undone or unsaid.The two seem to capture different aspects of the cigarette scenario.Superstition being the reason that people have faith in this act, or the act of compulsion, being the reason people make a habit of the practice.

The concept of the “lucky cigarette” originated from a cigarette ad in 1960.The brand Lucky Strike cigarettes published an advertisement in a magazine that depicted a girl with a cigarette facing the wrong way between her lips.Below the image reads, “Lucky Filters: you don’t even have to like it to light it.”In smaller print, below this catch phrase reads, “Draw on the tobacco end of a Lucky.Then turn it around and light up.The same fine Lucky flavor comes through – filtered mild.Rolled Tobacco.”The trend became fairly popular, for many came to accept the act of drawing on the tobacco end as a characteristic of the Lucky Strike brand.Over time, it can be assumed that the brand name grew to be taken literately, and the backwards cigarette was actually a symbol of luck.Through social interaction, it became common for one to flip over the “lucky cigarette” in their pack.Lucky Strike has also been known to include a lucky cigarette in their packs, a single green cigarette in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.This helped to emphasize the importance of the “lucky cigarette,” for this cigarette became a special entity to those familiar with the tradition of having a “lucky cigarette” in their pack.

It seems that the “lucky cigarette” was developed through a marketing plan that seemed to work amazingly well.However, the amount of devotion to the power placed upon this single cigarette in the pack remains larger than merely an advertising ploy.For some people, good luck has come out of proper use of the cigarette, and for most people who employ this superstition, bad luck has occurred following the misuse of the “lucky cigarette.”A mere advertising campaign from the 1960s cannot be responsible for the luck held within these cigarettes.Having luck in a single cigarette is an easy to believe superstition, for it answers questions that cannot be proven by means of science.Why would Joe Aziz break out in hives for one time in his life, coincidentally when he smoked another person’s “lucky cigarette,” and then never again?While the “lucky cigarette” may not be the logical answer, it seems to be the probable one.The possibilities of luck are endless for different people.Joe asked a girl for a cigarette last week.When she opened her pack to reveal 17 cigarettes filter up, with one filter down, Joe remarked, “Oh, you flip your lucky too?”The girl smirked at Joe and replied, “Yeah, if I’m lucky I won’t get cancer.”

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