Chap Stick Conspiracy
Is Lip Balm Addictive?
History of LBA
Lip Balm Anonymous Presents the Industry of Addiction
Chap Stick Conspiracy
The History of Chap StickThe Whitehall-Robins Healthcare company has a long history of using the popular media to push their products. Anyone remember Suzy Chaffee ("Suzy Chap Stick"), spokesperson for Chap Stick in the 1970's? Long a leader in the lip balm market, Chap Stick has been overtaken this year by Blistex. Here is a detailed history of Chap Stick from a June 1994 Whitehall-Robins press release:
In the early 1880's, Dr. C. D. Fleet, a Lynchburg, VA., physician and pharmacological tinkerer, invented Chap Stick as a lip balm. The handmade product, which resembled a wickless candle wrapped in tin foil, was sold locally, but did not have much success.According to a September 1996 issue of Med Ad News, WhiteHall-Robins reports that sales of Chap Stick were up 10.73%, generating $63 million in revenues.
Like the Corner Drug Dealer!
Robins took a different approach than Blistex when we contacted them for information on their company. Instead of sending literature, they sent us coupons for Chap Stick and their other products. Does this strategy sound familiar? It is the same one used by the corner drug dealer who says "The first one is free!" Truly despicable.
Chap Stick on the Web!The folks at Whitehall-Robins are getting into the misinformation business with their new Web site Healthfront. The name says it all: it is a front pretending to be about health. You can wade through their graphics and frames-heavy site, or you can go straight to the Chap Stick links we provide here. The first Lip Care page announces proudly that chapped lips aren't funny! We agree, and there's nothing funny about their Chapstick page, either. It provides the typical propaganda about how Chap Stick will keep your lips "looking and feeling healthy". Our problem with these pages, and the whole site in general, is that Whitehall-Robins' name is rarely seen. We think many people are going to think this is some sort of board-certified medical site. Funny how every problem has a Whitehall-Robins solution...
Poor JosieJosie Bisset, of Melrose Place fame, was quoted in a People Weekly article (May 6, 1996, page 108) that she never leaves the house without Chap Stick! Those who've read our Blistex page know that there is some evidence that Chap Stick and other lip balms are "gateways" to hard drugs. If Josie develops a drug problem in the future, you heard it here first! Our thanks to LBAer Joanie M. for pointing this article out to us.
No, not Winona too!The December 1997 issue of US magazine features an interview with actress Winona Ryder. The article mentions that she uses lip balm and even says that Chap Stick is her favorite brand. First Johnny Depp and now this! Stop now, Winona, before you destroy your career. Thanks to LBAer Jason H. for pointing out this article.
A monkey on my lips
For 26 years, I've harbored a craving for this inexpensive substance both day and night, winter, spring, summer and fall. No matter the hour or season, I need my Chap Stick
Atlanta Constitution. Sunday, February 4, 1996. Page: H/5With my head hung low and lips aquiver, I must confess to a long- standing addiction: I crave an intoxicating combination of petrolatums, padimate O, lanolin, isopropyl myristate and cetyl alcohol to get me through my days and nights. Combine these chemicals and you get a substance that medical journals refer to as lippus balmease. I'm talking about Chap Stick.
Any self-taught chemist can cook these elements into a creamy concoction that has a street value of $1.50. Fortunately, people like myself who can't tell a Bunsen burner from a hole in the ground can simply visit their neighborhood pharmacy or Kwik-Fix mini-mart and score a tube or two.
Yes, I have a monkey on my lips and it's called Chap Stick. For the past 26 years, I've harbored a craving for this inexpensive substance both day and night, winter, spring, summer and fall. No matter the hour or season, I need my Chap Stick.
I am at my weakest when I am asleep and have lost the ability to maintain the proper moisture level on my lips. More often than not, I find myself bolting upright at 3 a.m. and fumbling for my parched lips with trembling fingers. I'll reach over my snoring wife and snatch the tube of Chap Stick on the nightstand to mainline a quick smear. All is right with the world once again.
How did this addiction begin? Was it because I ran with the wrong crowd, or did I just get caught up in a cool scene I read about in "Interview"? Neither. It was my mother who introduced me to the instant nirvana of lip balm.
A quick flashback to the winter of '69 in Columbus, Ohio. I'm 8 years old and seated between my parents in a Methodist church pew. The minister has worked himself in a lather as he unravels the levels of hell awaiting those who do not heed his warnings. With the same ferociousness, I have stripped away an alarming amount of dead skin from my first case of chapped lips.
The night before, my younger sister had introduced me to this strange new candy called lipstick that she discovered in our mother's dresser drawer. For nearly two hours, we applied the lipstick and then licked it off as fast as we could. My sister preferred the frosted lipsticks; I was partial to anything red. But the next morning my lips tingled like a five-alarm fire and resembled crusty ballpark franks. As my father drove us to church, I kept my burning lips glued to the Ford's ice-cold passenger window. Once in church, my mother became quite disgusted with the dance-of-the-seven-veils act I was performing on my lips. She snapped open her purse and plopped a tube of lip balm in my hand. At first I was puzzled a here was something that looked like the very thing that got me in trouble in the first place. Nevertheless, I applied this ointment and awaited its healing powers. Miraculously, it soon took a bit of the sting out of my lips. Praise be to lip balm.
But at the age of 34, I have a ball-and-chain relationship with Chap Stick. I can't go out my front door without first tapping my left pants pocket for a Chap Stick check. Whenever caught deep in the throes of moisture-free lips, my modus operandi for applying Chap Stick is eight quick dabs, as opposed to one big swipe, every 20 minutes. This economical approach avoids needless waste and a potential overdose, plus it makes the tube last longer. In this age of spiked cigarettes, boozy cough syrups and jazzed java joints, it's not unheard of for someone to admit an addiction to any one particular substance. I don't know what I would do if the Food and Drug Administration ever classified lip balm as an illegal substance. This nightmare scenario undoubtedly would force me to smuggle this lip elixir out of Switzerland and into the United States by freeze-drying it into a powder and then concealing it in condoms or Swiss Miss hot chocolate packets.
Psst, hey, you; want some hot chocolate?
Copyright 1996 Atlanta Newspapers Inc.
"Another Tale Of Personal Courage"