CAMPAIGNS: JUDGE AND JURY; Smoke defectors did a poor job of converting fashion victims

The Health Education Authority’s campaign to make smoking unfashionable is a sure-fire way of making it an attractive proposition to a rebellious teen population, says Aurelia Cecil, managing director of Aurelia PR

The Health Education Authority’s campaign to make smoking unfashionable

is a sure-fire way of making it an attractive proposition to a

rebellious teen population, says Aurelia Cecil, managing director of

Aurelia PR



It is a tough life being a supermodel. A fashion stylist insists you

have to be photographed for their ultra-cool publication, holding (gasp,

shock, horror)...a cigarette, to ensure you look cool and sophisticated.



The reality is most supermodels would be happy to be handed a cigarette

at a shoot as most models smoke. They want to keep as thin as possible

and smoking helps suppress hunger pangs. Plus most models are very young

and a cigarette may help give some confidence (matches, lighters and

ashtrays have always been good conversation starters).



Kate Moss, as a ‘real’ supermodel (a face and name that is genuinely

well-known outside the confines of the fashion industry) is forced to

become a figurehead and spokesperson for the industry. Unfairly, she is

expected to support this initiative and take the blame for glamorising

smoking and therefore encouraging female teenagers to smoke. That she

chooses to smoke is up to her. Individuality, self-expression, a sense

of rebellion and youthful abandon are all common traits in the industry,

particularly the fashion magazine world which pivots around the ideals

of youth and beauty. To expect youth and beauty to be dictated to is

unrealistic as they are bound to feel invincible.



‘Live and let live’ and ‘do your own thing’ are ethics which the fashion

industry would find more acceptable than being told to put smoking out

of fashion. Tell someone something is out of fashion and you can bet

your Prada handbag that someone else will find it deeply trendy and

modern. You only have to look at the rise and rise of geek chic to

prove that point.



Fashion editors should perhaps be encouraged to show more people smoking

on their pages but instead of featuring young, perfect bodied, beautiful

uberhumans puffing on the dreaded weed, they should show vastly fat,

spotty, aesthetically-challenged ‘models’ with cigarettes in hand. This

may be a far more effective deterrent than not showing any fashion

spreads with models smoking at all.



Fashion should not dictate whether smoking is acceptable or not. Let’s

not have Prohibition in the UK and instead use fashion industry muscle

to promote charitable causes rather than to tell people whether or not

they can light up. Lighten up and live and let live.



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