Fourth of July is just around the corner. Time to start making plans for a bang-up day of bar-b-que and fireworks. And to show how patriotic you are, don’t forget to stop and get that limited-edition, American flag-themed pack of cigarettes.
I received a message from Janiece Davis, Health Educator Consultant, Palm Beach County Health Department, with an advertisement from Rolling Stone magazine showing a pack of cigarettes tucked into the pocket of a young woman’s red gingham shirt. The top of the package is visible and is blue with gold stars and the words “USA Gold.” The shirt with the cigarettes is worn over a low-cut, white tank top, tying in the patriotic, red, white and blue theme. At the bottom of the ad are the words “another American beauty” next to the cigarette pack, suggesting the cigarettes are as American as apple pie and as beautiful as the young model in the ad. The front of the cigarette pack appears to replicate the American flag with a gold eagle thrown on to show strength. And under the pack are the words, “Your spirit. Your smoke.” Looking up this brand on the internet, one site proclaims “it’s the only smoke on the shelf that shares your spirit for things earned, not given.”
Tobacco companies are masters at subliminal messages. They show healthy, young models, not someone who has been smoking for twenty or more years. Their words hint at freedom, and free-spirit, but they don’t show a smoker tethered to an oxygen tank. It’s not sexy or patriotic to show a person suffering from cancer from smoking or a picture of diseased lungs caused by smoking. This particular brand of cigarettes is “gold;” the words hint at being being number one, being at the top. As for sharing “your spirit for things earned…,” a cigarette is an inanimate object, what does it share with you? The only thing you “earn” is a life of an expensive addiction and poor health. And the message is correct, it’s not given to you, you have to purchase it.
Prove to the tobacco industry that your spirit is stronger than their words. Be tobacco free.