A new French antismoking advertisement aimed at the young that plays off a pornographic stereotype has gotten more attention than even its creators intended, and critics suggest that it offends common decency and creates a false analogy between oral sex and smoking.
France has banned smoking in cafes, bars and restaurants. But smoking is still increasing among the young in France, according to the French Office for the Prevention of Smoking, prompting an antitobacco organization called Droits des Non-fumeurs, or Nonsmokers’ Rights, to create the ad.
The slogan is bland enough: “To smoke is to be a slave to tobacco.” But it accompanies photographs of an older man, his torso seen from the side, pushing down on the head of a teenage girl with a cigarette in her mouth. Her eyes are at belt level, glancing upward fearfully. The cigarette appears to emerge from the adult’s trousers.
The ads try to convince them that smoking is “an act of naïveté and submission.
How is this supposed to dissuade possible smokers?