CDC wages supermodel offensive in war against tobacco marketing

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is using supermodel Christy Turlington to wage a new battle in the tobacco wars, launching a Web offensive to dissuade women aged 18 to 34 from lighting up.

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is using supermodel Christy Turlington to wage a new battle in the tobacco wars, launching a Web offensive to dissuade women aged 18 to 34 from lighting up.

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is using supermodel Christy Turlington to wage a new battle in the tobacco wars, launching a Web offensive to dissuade women aged 18 to 34 from lighting up.

Turlington has fronted the CDC's anti-smoking campaign since revealing that her father died from smoking-related diseases and that she is in the early stages of emphysema (the latter of which she disclosed in December on Good Morning America). She now is starring in a streaming video presentation, 'Women and Smoking: Seven Deadly Myths.' It will appear on Oxygen Media's ThriveOn-line.com health-oriented Web site until March 31.

The Academy for Educational Development brokered the deal between Oxygen and the CDC. The campaign will eschew the much-tried - and ineffective, so it is said - tactic of trying to convince younger women that smoking is bad for their health in favor of highlighting the adverse impact smoking has on family members. In it, Turlington relates how she lost her father to lung cancer and emphysema.

Organizers of the new effort borrowed heavily from the playbook of the highly successful 'Truth' campaign, which used PR and advertising to curb teen smoking in Florida.

The new campaign takes dead aim at the tobacco industry for its sales strategies. Tobacco opponents say women have been victimized by the tobacco companies' attempts to associate smoking with thinness and attractiveness.

'The bad guys hire beautiful, skinny women to do this in movies,' noted Anne Marie O'Keefe, task force leader for the project at the Academy for Educational Development.

Turlington, she says, reaches both men and women in the targeted age bracket. 'To that extent, using a role model to explode the myth is the same rationale. We couldn't afford to hire Christy Turlington, but she generously donated her time,' O'Keefe added.

Jeff McKenna, who directs CDC's communications on smoking, said statistics show that the emphasis over the last five years on cutting teen smoking appears to be working. But there is anecdotal evidence that young adults are smoking more.

In the coming months, the CDC will convene focus groups to get a firmer grasp on how the tobacco companies are reaching young adults and to determine what preventive strategies would be most effective.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.