Spring: 1929. Hundreds of beautiful women walk in the main streets of New York holding burning cigarettes. The man who organized this parade (Edward Bernays, nephew of Sigmund Freud, known also as ‘father of public relations’) explains to the journalists that these women were suffragettes, smoking their ‘torches of freedom’. Women appealed for equal rights with men – smoking on public. This is how one of the most significant movements – feminism - was born. This is how one of the biggest lies - smoking makes your life better - was spread.
Spring: 2011. Almost hundred years later. Kate Moss walking for Louis Vuitton at Paris Fashion Week lights up cigarette demonstrating that smoking is money which is more important than human life and health. But for sure for young teenage girls it looks totally cool.
Fall: 2011. Ukrainian web site of Kiss cigarettes brand offers to young female consumers to fulfill their dreams. ‘Biscuit taste, caramel and chocolate mousse is a perfect combination for a sweet tooth.’ You think: This is an advertisement of a new café flavor? No, this is a new taste of cigarettes targeted for young girls. Tobacco companies claim that their aim is not to attract teenagers to smoking, but to distinguish their brand from others. Please, someone can explain to me, how adult man or woman can peck on this trick with biscuits?...
Nowadays it is almost impossible to imagine modern Ukrainian teenage girls without cigarette and beer. When I was a schoolgirl in Soviet times, in my school almost noone girl smoked. Those couple were from difficult families and known as problem children. Now if you don’t smoke you are different, not accepted to some groups, “you are not cool”. More than half of schoolmates of my 15’year niece regularly smoke. Girls more often than boys.
Aggressive advertisement targeting young girls works. Offering freedom of choice, tobacco companies don’t say nothing about lifelong addiction they impose. We must to say the truth. We must to open eyes of these innocent victims who really believe that cigarette is the way to look stylish and “western”. We must to say that smoking is not just glamorous package. Smoking provokes illnesses, pain and finally kills. It kills beauty, health and our children. We must to shout it until is not too late. Ukraine needs healthy future generations. We must to speak with teenagers on their language, going to the places where they go. They adore social nets. Web 2.0 is one of the most powerful tool to speak with youth and fianally help them to change their lives for better.
Ladies, is in Our hands to stop this Death Rhapsody in Pink. So let’s do it! Make the first step, tomorrow could be too late – stop smoking today.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.