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Study: Teen Girls Loved This Cigarette Ad

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The ads for Camel No. 9 cigarettes -- which ran in magazines like Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Glamour -- were a hit with girls aged 12 to 16.

camel cigarette ad

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, surveyed 1,036 tweens and teens about the cigarette ads. Alongside the ads were promotional giveaways of such items as berry-flavored lip balm, cell-phone jewelry, purses and wristbands.

Even though tobacco-company reps say the ads were aimed at adults, anti-smoking advocates weren't buying it. Cheryl Healton, president of the anti-smoking group the American Legacy Foundation, says the ads were clearly noticed by teenagers. In 2008, a year after the ads debuted, 22 percent of teen girls said Camel had their favorite cigarette ads -- twice the number of those who answered Camel in other interviews. Study authors say that clearly shows that the campaign -- not the brand -- captured the teens' attention.

In 1998, when Big Tobacco settled the huge lawsuit against them, they agreed not to target kids with advertisements. R.J. Reynolds, the maker of Camel, disputed that the ads were targeted to the younger set, noting that 85 percent of the readers of these magazines are over 18.

And it's not just brand-recognition that is a problem. Study authors say that having a fave ad can lead to smoking. Nonsmoking teens who can name a favorite ad are 50 percent more likely to begin smoking than other kids, the study says.

The American Cancer Society points out that ads don't need to feature cartoons to appeal to kids. In fact, ads that portray smoking as adult, grownup and cool make it more attractive to teens. Shockingly, 80 percent of smokers start before they turn 18.

What do you think? Much ado about nothing, or are these ads really dangerous?


next: School Lunch Makes Kids Fat
23 comments so far | Post a comment now
The Late Joe Camel March 15, 2010, 7:29 PM

How about not letting your twelve year old read Cosmopolitan?

I don’t see anything wrong with this add. It’s not like Strawberry Shortcake is puffing away or anything. Stop looking for someone to blame. If you don’t want your kids to smoke, then talk to them about it. You may be able to censor cigarette adds, but you can’t sensor the whole world.

Kaitlin March 15, 2010, 9:28 PM

Why would you fault an amazing artist for doing his job? This add is visually appealing and does exactly what its ment to do, if anything pay the guy who created it more money. Talk to your kids about smoking, It depends who they are if they will smoke or not. I started smoking when I was a kid, and have stoped and started many times over, and I know young adults who still havent smoked and dont ever want to. I would rather my child talk to me than do it behind my back.

Mandy March 16, 2010, 1:49 PM

To me, it wasn’t targeting children, but catching the female eye… Doubtful that many teen or tween boys were taken in by that ad!!

Things geared at women typically look pink or pretty like that. Should anything that is pink be controversy? What about condoms geared toward women, they are often very appealing to the female eye as a way to get women more comfortable with them. But they may be in a pretty wrapper. Controversy?

Much ado about nothing!

Jane Camel March 17, 2010, 12:09 PM

This ARTICLE made me want a smoke break..LOL

Anonymous April 4, 2010, 6:14 AM

Seriously? Why are twelve year olds reading Cosmo? That’s the problem here.

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Fashion Trends October 12, 2010, 3:38 PM

Many thanks for your penmanship. I am a marketing professional in Utah and have shared the article to my friends.

ninipanini November 13, 2010, 6:00 AM

Selling teen girls short aren’t we? The opposite propaganda vs this pretty packaging? Are they going to be swayed by that? Or the evidence ads?

Amie Pollard December 7, 2010, 10:18 PM

There are none so blind as those, that will not see

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