The adverts, presented earlier this week, show an older man in a suit pushing down on the head of a teenager with a cigarette in her mouth, in a position that suggests oral sex. Another version of the advert shows a teenage boy in a similar position. The accompanying slogan reads: "Smoking means being a slave to tobacco".
Those who have been opposing it say:
- "The campaign trivialises sexual abuse - worse, it implies guilt on the part of the abused."
- "The campaign targets young people who see cigarettes as symbols of emancipation, of freedom, when it really causes dependency and submission."
- "As far as I know, practising fellatio doesn't cause cancer."
The ad is suggestive but people who choose to smoke do so due to peer pressure, to appear cool and later make the choice because they like it/are addicted to it. If the analogy denotes sexual submission, then fellatio would be seen as such too. So, are the critics of the ad holding a candle for oral sex or for homosexuality in the case of the boy? Fellatio does not cause cancer, but if it is an unknown person not using protection then there is the danger of sexually-transmitted diseases.
By using the word slave, it might make a person feel guilty if s/he is a teenager. On the other hand, it could make the person feel free of responsibility. Why can they not see that? It would be easy for the kids to pick up a cigarette and say they are being forced into it. Heck, the man is wearing a suit, he could therefore be a professional or a businessman and well-settled in life. He would be seen a role model. And he may be pushing the head down to position it right, and therefore training a novice.
Much as I would like to take a high moral ground, the fact is whether we use skeletons or blow jobs, those who want to smoke will smoke. What about those who light up after sex?