Well Being

Saying That Smoking Ruins Sex, Doesn’t Make It True

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Saying That Smoking Ruins Sex  Doesn t Make It True sexy smoking ny jpg“If you think smoking is sexy, think again.” -Sam Miller, Health Department spokesman.

In an attempt to take the anti-smoking campaign up a notch, Bloomberg’s New York is trying to rebrand the habit as totally not sexy. They totally missed the mark. According to Sam Miller, New York City Health Department spokesman, “women who smoke may be more likely to suffer from PMS,” before getting to “on average, smokers die at least 10 years younger than non-smokers.” Now, PMS can be a real bitch, but all the cramps and bloating in the world shouldn’t be more contentious than premature death. I mean those things suck dreadfully and are serious problems, but this campaign is starting to look a little desperate. Priorities, people!

These deliberately chosen side effects to smoking aren’t quite so persuasive, but they do seem a little manipulative. Of all discouraging reasons to avoid cigarettes, these are the most gendered. They prey on very rigid roles for men and women. Men who can’t get boners? Women who can’t get pregnant from boners? Worse periods? Society will collapse. Considering the easy access to viagra and unrelenting attack on safe abortions and birth control, there’s an uncomfortable pattern. That’s just one troubling facet to this re-branding move. What’s more troubling is that I don’t think it will convince anyone to avoid cigarettes.

Maybe I’m just cynical, but with all that we know about the damage done by smoking, trying to push the idea that cigarettes aren’t sexy is pretty weak tactic. Is that the best you got? Teenagers don’t care about erectile dysfunction and they aren’t afraid of infertility yet. It makes sense to attack the sexiness of tobacco, but the city missed the mark.

Smoking is really bad for you, but giving boners and PMS more emphasis than cancer and heart disease is a little silly. Compared the city’s other actions to crush cigarettes, like banning public smoking, raising tobacco taxes, limiting discounts and raising the legal age from 18 to 21, trying to change tobacco’s sexy image is a flaccid move.

Stop trying to make smoking not sexy, emphasize that it’s a killer.

via New York Post//Image via Fight Club (1999)