French Anti-Smoking Ad Shocks

Recently an anti-smoking campaign was launched in France targeted at teens that depicts the images of helpless teenagers in a sexual manner. As seen in the image above an older man, with his torso seen from the side, is pushing down on the head of three different teenagers with cigarettes in their mouths. The slogan reads: “To smoke is to be a slave to tobacco.” Agitated feminist and family organizations alike have criticized the ad agency for using images of underage sex to sell a message, and some critics plan to file complaints with the French advertising watchdog agency. Naturally, one would think that these images are a little too risky, and may have been “approved” by accident, but such is not the case.


[Newser] “The message here is that tobacco is a form of submission. In the popular imagination, oral sex is the perfect symbol of submission,” said a company spokesman.

[NY Times] The president of Droits des Non-fumeurs, Gérard Audureau, said the campaign was started after being viewed favorably by high school students. For 18 years, he said, “we did it gently, on the health aspect, with deteriorated lungs, but young people feel invincible, immortal.”

The newspaper Le Parisien quoted him as saying: “Using sex is a way to get their attention. And if it’s necessary to shock, let’s shock.”

Bertrand Dautzenberg, president of the French Office for the Prevention of Smoking, doubted the ads would work. Quoted in Le Parisien, he said, “This will shock adults while not scaring kids.”



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