Since I'm not a smoker, I don't really pay all that much attention to cigarette advertising, but I did a double take upon reading Anna Quindlen's latest column about Camel No. 9. This new product is designed as a cigarette for women -- complete with a pink and teal box. But in addition to the cigarette appealing to women (appealing as cancer sticks can be I guess), these cigarettes are also catching on among teens. And, according to the CDC, 90% of all smokers begin before age 18.
Wow. Equally upsetting was the response from several "women's magazines" when Congress called upon them to stop accepting ads for Camel No. 9. Most just ignored the request (except for Good Housekeeping which hasn't run cigarette ads since 1952!) , but one mag (unnamed in the column) responded by saying that the request was "at odds with the basic fabric of our country's value system." I guess that might be true if our country's value system included killing off women and teens...
On a more promising note my new favorite TV show, America's Next Top Model, actually banned cigarette smoking on this cycle of the show, with Tyra Banks saying that the models needed to be role models for young girls and therefore the show will not support smoking. In addition, for the models' first photo shoot, they took "glamour shots" with a cigarette and also showed the models as they'd appear when suffering from side effects or diseases caused by smoking.
All in all, a surprising and positive PSA from a show that could really just focus on lookin' pretty.