Son Goes Public To Get Mellencamp To Stop Smoking

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The wall of Speck Mellencamp's Facebook group

The wall of Speck Mellencamp's Facebook group, "1,000,000 to join, my dad john mellencamp will quit smoking." hide caption

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Can peer pressure get musician John Mellencamp to quit smoking? His 14-year-old son hopes so. Speck Mellencamp made a deal with his father that if 1 million people join a Facebook page he created, then the elder Mellencamp will kick the habit.

Speck tells NPR's Scott Simon that when they agreed to the deal, his father never thought that many people would join.

"He told me he thought it was just gonna be a couple of my friends who joined the group," Speck says.

Help Nag John Mellencamp

Go to Speck Mellencamp's Facebook page and join the campaign.

At the time of the interview with Simon, there were nearly 200,000 members.

Speck says his father, a longtime smoker, has tried to quit smoking but hasn't been able to for more than a couple of weeks.

"I think he would like to [quit]," Speck says, "but I just don't think he ever had the willpower to."

The difference now may be having such a huge audience.

"He says if a million people [join the group] and then somebody sees him [smoking], he'll seem like the bad guy," Speck says. "So he kinda has to [quit]."

Other members of the Facebook group have said they, too, will quit if 1 million people join.

"I've had lots of people tell me about stories of loved ones and friends that have died from lung cancer and smoking-related stuff," Speck says.

There's no deadline on the deal. Dad just has to quit when the page gets a million members. So these days when his father lights up, Speck tells him to enjoy it now.



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