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


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 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


'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

Already registered?
Sign in