Where there’s smoke, there’s suspicion

I don’t normally read Rolling Stone, but when I’m waiting at the dentist’s office with my kids and my choices are limited to:

A. a two-month old “Hot List” issue of Rolling Stone OR

B. a Highlights magazine where some dirty rat has already circled all the hidden objects in the picture puzzle (damn you to hell!)

I’llĀ go with the former. Their November issue featured Bruno Mars on the cover. Notice he’s holding a cigarette.

And in the photo spread for the Bruno Mars article, again he has a cig.

OK, so Bruno Mars is a smoker. Sad, but true. But turn a few more pages and you find a glossy photo of someone named Tinashe. (I’m so out of the pop music loop I don’t even know how to pronounce her name… Tina-SHAY? Tuh-NOSH-ay? TIN-ash?) And the pop princess is seductively sporting a smoking cigarette (say that 3 times fast).

But wait, there’s more. Turn a few more pages and you’ll find “Hot Actress” Haley Bennett, and yes, you guessed it, she’s smoking a cigarette also.

So the four largest, most prominent photos in the entire magazine feature people holding or smoking a cigarette. If I were the cynical type, I might strongly suspect that one or more cigarette companies (a.k.a. Merchants of Death) might’ve arranged an off-the-books, under the table sort of product placement deal. We all know that print is dying, so Rolling Stone certainly might be tempted to take some cash in a quid pro quo deal… or maybe Bruno, Tinashe and Haley got a wad of cash for holding a wad of tobacco. Certainly it would be a way to circumvent the tight restrictions on tobacco advertising in print… and make it seem “cool” to kids because all the “hot list” folks are doing it.

But no, Big Tobacco would never do something as insidious as that, right?







4 thoughts on “Where there’s smoke, there’s suspicion

  1. Completely agree, D2. In my view, there has been a significant uptick in the visibility of smoking. Our generation was the target of anti-smoking education efforts, but many in my daughters’ demographic seem to have ignored the science. Mad Men, albeit a fantastic show, and other shows of that ilk have brought smoking back into the mainstream and it has spread in popularity to other TV programs and movies.

    I’m not a prude, but it doesn’t take a highly advanced google query to find photos of diseased hearts and lungs. I wonder, every time I see someone take a drag off a cigarette, why that person would willingly introduce carcinogens into their body. Sure, I’ll have a couple beers or a bourbon, knowing that too much alcohol can also hurt my body. But that’s why I drink responsibly. (Let’s hold the discussion about addiction for another day.)

    I’ve seen too many people die a slow, painful death due to years of smoking. It’s a horrible sight. Thanks for bringing up this topic, my man.

    • Thanks TC, and thanks for reading. Smoking creates dozens of health issues for smokers and their families. And tobacco companies have shown (or rather hidden but it’s been uncovered) time and again that they’ll use any means necessary to hook the next generation of “replacement customers.” Truly despicable.

  2. Oh, this is worrying, so far I haven’t noticed any cigarette smoking or even vaping in French press although the French are heavy smokers. The EU laws prohibit tobacco companies from sponsoring sporting events, musical concerts, art exhibitions, cultural events… not even allowing non-smoking merchandise, such as pens and hats.

    People still smoke, of course, mothers pushing prams with babies is my biggest horror, but perhaps it is stopping some kids from starting. I know some heavy smokers who switched to vaping to shield their children from second hand smoking (I’m not sure vaping is as harmless as they claim but at least it’s cleaner). There are government programmes that help people quit smoking and they are covered by the national health insurance.
    I would hate to see the smoking trend come back as a cool thing celebrities do (though I find erasing smoke scenes from old movies too extreme…)

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