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I'm Mad . . . Smokin' Mad!

By HERWriter
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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.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Annette, thank you so much for this post. It's reprehensible. I am imagining people sitting around a conference table in some marketing meeting at Virginia Slims, talking about colors and their possible affect on attractiveness to young women, and it makes me ill. I have six nieces, and it makes me furious to think of a cigarette company trying to make itself more appealing to them with things like cell phone jewelry and tiny purses. Because those things are not really even the target market for an 18-year-old, but for tweens. Disgusting.

July 22, 2009 - 8:46am

Good post! That is definitely something to get mad about. They cigarette companies know exactly what they are doing by using those colors.

I live in Australia and the cigarette packaging is not pretty at all. They have large graphic pictures of cancers and diseases that smoking can give you. They also have in large words eg: "SMOKING CAUSES LUNG CANCER". They look awful to me, though there are still plenty of people smoking who obviously just ignore the warnings regardless of the packaging.

Here is a sample of the Australia warnings on packets. Some are quite awful to look at:


July 21, 2009 - 2:11pm
(reply to Kellie - My Health Software)

Thank you for that link, Kellie! I've suggested to our team that we keep it on hand as a resource. I wish the US was as aggressive in our anti-smoking efforts.

July 21, 2009 - 4:20pm
HERWriter (reply to Kellie - My Health Software)

Wow, Kellie. Those photos are amazing. At least they are trying to de-glamourize smoking. Thank you for sending that link. I think I'll forward it to the American Cancer Society. Annette

July 21, 2009 - 2:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

I don't blame you for being mad.....Thats like a slap in the face. Perhaps the color codes will make people think of cancer before buying them....

July 21, 2009 - 1:02pm
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