Take a look at the language used to sell a certain item to women. What is this light and luscious "must-have," you ask? Not a whisper-thin Philip Lim dress or a Weight Watchers angel food cake. The product is a pack of Camel cigarettes. This "must-have" is a known carcinogenic, but "they taste as good as they look," which is all chicks care about, right? Camel No. 9s are packaged in a sleek black box trimmed in pink. And the ad (in its entirety, after the jump) is pink and black, like an elegant boudoir or the inside of a jewelbox. There's a "purse," which holds two black credit card-like coupons, and and offer to visit the Web site and get cigarette cases designed by three "up-and-coming fashion designers." (We logged in but couldn't find further information, any idea who these up and comers are?)
The ad, which was elaborately designed and executed, arrived to one Jezebel's home via direct mail, which is one way tobacco companies are forced to reach people, now that they no longer advertise in women's magazines. The vibe is upscale, luxe, exclusive, pretty — words you could use to describe say, Vogue or the lifestyle portrayed on Sex and the City. (And Camel is not the only brand that makes "designer" smokes.) But a pack of cigarettes is not a Prada dress or Blahnik shoe. Or is it? Is there something inherently chic about smoking, even today? Teenagers often start smoking because it "looks cool" and then find themselves with a habit that's hard to break. And though some of us think that smoking and advertising have nothing to do with each other, the fact remains that a deadly product is glamorized. Wouldn't we all give pause if we saw a gun or a disease-loaded syringe treated the same way?