It’s not bad enough that the makers of Virginia Slims target young women with their new slimmer, sexy cigarettes in convenient, cute little “purse packs,” but they chose pink and teal for the hot new packaging.
Why am I mad? Those colors happen to be the colors for breast cancer (pink) and ovarian cancer (teal). As cancer advocates work tirelessly to inform women about cancer risks, the most well funded and provocative voice is that of the tobacco industry which positions cigarette smoking among young women as feminine and chic. And accompanying their cigarettes? Strategically focused teen promotional giveaways including lip balm, cell phone jewelry, tiny purses and wristbands.
Isn’t it bad enough that lung cancer, now the leading cause of cancer death among women, will kill tens of thousands of women this year? In addition, smoking increases the risk for other cancers, including cervix, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, bladder, pancreas, stomach and some forms of leukemia. And, smoking raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you smoke, find a way to quit - - now. Please. Whatever it takes, you must stop. I’ve read several blogs about these new cigarette campaigns and many users argue the point that it’s their lives and non-smokers should butt out. But it is our business for a ton of reasons. I lost people I loved to lung cancer and the pain, the loss, the grief, the missed years, the caregiving and the cost are all our business.
It’s ironic that pink or teal are rallying colors for women’s cancers while simultaneously enticing thousands of young women to proudly display a hip new accessory that carries over 60 poisons into their lungs, and then back out into our air. It is unconscionable marketing at its worst.
Judgemental? You bet.