“Oh my God,” I said as the ad in “Lucky Magazine” finally registered. “Oh my God,’ echoed the 62-year-old woman seated next to me after showing her the promotion to “taste” the “additive” and “natural” flavor of American Spirit Tobacco.
Getting over my shock of seeing such an ad in print, I looked closer at the magazine. It had graced the table of a dentist waiting room. It was one of more than a dozen, including “Time” and “Newsweek.” I chose it after seeing “Lucky Breaks Free Stuff – page 113” in bold letters across the top of its cover.
Turning to the section — I’m a sucker for anything free – I see offerings by someone named Anna McEntee, pushing “deals, discounts and giveaways.” The “Lucky Break” section stretched across two pages facing one another — 112 and the advertised page 113. To the left occupying a full one-third of the page is the tobacco ad. A thin line separates the “Lucky Breaks” from a picture of three packs of cigarettes. The heading above the smokes says: “EVENTS + PROMOTIONS + GREAT DEALS.”
Now, before you begin pooh-pooh the rantings of some virulent anti-smoking crusader, you should know I’ve always enjoyed the company of smokers over non-smokers. I started sneaking smokes from my mother’s packs of Pall Mall when I was 12, and didn’t quit until 30-some odd years later. I never condoned health-conscious campaigns that ostracized myself or my friends that continued (and continue today) to smoke.
But, I immediately focused on who the target audience was: young women concerned with “shopping and style,” according to the magazine’s subtitle. The magazine’s cigarette ad seemed to be hinting – no, it was more than a hint – that it was somehow chic to be a smoker; that it’s cool to smoke again! (For more see teen girls drawn to cigarette ads in fashion mags.)
The cover for the July, 2011, edition portrays a healthy, 25-year-old “reality star” Lauren Conrad with a “Great Body, No Gym Needed” tag line on her picture. The magazine is geared toward young women with disposable income for the latest in fashions and designs.
We’re not talking Marlboro Man-type territory here. It’s strictly for the professional women and the lady who can afford not to worry about price when great looks are worth so much more.
That is exactly what bothered me. If “good lucks” is what these young adults are seeking, what makes anyone think that smoking would make them appear more appealing?
“Experience Natural American Spirit with two packs for $2” the ad says. Nothing describes what the promotion means as “natural.” It does claim, however, that: “No additive in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.”
I’m all for free enterprise and for a person’s right to anything that’s not illegal. But, this ad was right next to such offers for “Lucky Break” discounts as necklaces, bikini tops and bottoms, cosmetics and jewelry. None of these will kill you, folks, and I cannot understand how the publisher could approve its offering in such a magazine.