Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. A cigarette, however, is nothing but a little phallus.

When I saw this story in The Independent yesterday, I was sure that Cymast would post about it here any minute.  A day has passed, and she still hasn’t.  So I’ll do it. 

The Independent writes:

French advertising companies are often criticised for using sexual images to sell everything from designer spectacles to sweetcorn. Now, for the first time, a controversy has erupted in France over the use of sexually suggestive posters as a deterrent.

A campaign to discourage young people from smoking shows male and female teenagers kneeling in front of a man, as if being forced to have oral sex. A cigarette takes the place of the man’s sexual organ. The caption reads: “Smoking is to be a slave to tobacco.”

 Later in the story:

Marco de la Fuente, the leader of the project for the BDDP et Fils ad agency, said: “The old arguments – tobacco is bad for you – don’t work any more. The message here is that tobacco is a form of submission. In the popular imagination, oral sex is the perfect symbol of submission.”

Gérard Audureau, the president of Les Droits des Non-fumeurs (The Rights of Non-smokers), the pressure group which commissioned the ads, said health arguments did not reach teenagers. “Young people think that they are invincible, immortal,” he said. “Fear of sexual exploitation worries them more than illness.”

Opposition to the ads – to be shown in bars, clubs and newspapers – has been widespread. Florence Montreynaud, of the feminist pressure group Chiennes de Garde (Guard Bitches), said that it was “inadmissible” that an image implying underage sex should be exploited, even in a good cause.

So according to Messieurs de la Fuente and Audureau, French teenagers have such a horror of oral sex that they would rather abstain from smoking than seem to be performing it.

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