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
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.