How tobacco firms target young girls with slimline packs
PROFIT-MAKING tobacco companies get around strict advertising bans by targeting young girls and women with sophisticated marketing ploys, anti-cancer campaigners say. An international conference in Dublin heard the ruse includes feminine designs and packs made out to look like perfume bottles. One expert said names like ‘super slims’ imply a link between cigarettes and an attractive waistline while the term ‘light’ gives the impression these cigarettes are less harmful. Delegates were told that images of Kate Moss smoking on the catwalk may help the cynical stunt, but there is nothing
fashionable about a product that kills 7,000 people in Ireland every year.
After the startling revelation that more women now die from lung cancer than do from breast cancer, campaigners want Health Minister James Reilly to clamp down on marketing tricks. While tobacco was once the preserve of men, the gap is closing and lung cancer is now the biggest cancer killer in Ireland, taking the lives of 1,006 men and 702 women in 2010. Breast cancer killed 634 women the same year. Just over 4.1billion cigarettes were sold legally here in 2010. Kathleen O’Meara, of the Irish Cancer Society, warned that one in three women now smokes.
She said: ‘Big tobacco is misleading women with products linking smoking to glamour and femininity. We are warning girls and young women that the industry is manipulating them industry is manipulating them into developing an addiction which kills one in two smokers.’ International expert Prof Amanda Amos said, as long ago as 1925 an advertising campaign by Lucky Strikes linked smoking to a slimline look. Its manipulative catchphrase, ‘Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet’ doubled sales of the cigarettes. Prof Amos, professor of health promotion at the University of Edinburgh, and co-founder
of the International Network of Women Against Tobacco, said: ‘The new floral coloured packs like Virginia Slims, Vogue Bleue, and Silk Cut Purple look nothing like lethal products.
‘This new packaging generates a buzz among female smokers and a desire to try them. White packs appeal to women especially social smokers, as more feminine and elegant.’
Figures show that women buy 69.8 per cent of Silk Cut Blue and 66 per cent of Silk Cut Purple. Dr Jude Robinson, expert in the anthropology of health and illness at the University of Liverpool, said: ‘We know 20 per cent of women still smoke when pregnant and most who quit generally go back on the cigarettes after their baby is born. ‘This is a clear indication that smoking is more than just an
addiction.’ Australia announced in 2010 that it would introduce plain packages this year, but its government faces a tough challenge from the tobacco firms. After calls for a similar tough approach here, by the Irish Cancer Society, Dr Reilly said it would be considered by the Tobacco Policy Review Group, which is expected to report shortly.
By Sandra Murphy
Irish Daily Mail - Thursday 5, July 2012
Posted on Monday 9th July 2012