How cigarette ads affect women

Women obviously hold the purse strings. Case in point: cigarette advertisements.Tobacco advertisers began gearing their ads specifically towards women in the 1920s. These ads portrayed women as attractive, fashionable and liberated. In turn, smoking among women became very popular.

After World War I ended and women gained suffrage, they became more optimistic about being viewed as equals in society. Who would have thought that the cigarette would play a significant role in aiding women on their road to equality?

After the war, women subscribed to the “anything you can do, I can do better” sentiment. As a result, they began consuming an object that was originally designed for men — the cigarette.

Eventually, advertisers caught wind of this and began creating tobacco ads exclusively for women.

Tobacco companies, such as the Lucky Strike brand of cigarettes, featured women in ads that displayed sayings like, “Reach for a LUCKY instead of a sweet.” According to the U.S. Health Public Service, this insinuated that smoking coincided with skinniness.

Cigarettes became the new accessory for women. Celebrities and supermodels were soon featured in magazines such as Vogue wearing clothes that were more form-fitting, with bound breasts and tubular dresses, using cigarettes to compliment their sexiness and independence.

Along with the stigma of thin women smoking, ads suggested that women who smoked were desirable and gave off sex appeal.

In later years, advertising companies put media stars like Marilyn Monroe, the classic sex symbol, on a pedestal by displaying them in movies and on billboards holding cigarettes and wearing sexy ensembles.

Although feminine advertisements dominated the market during the 20th century, this may not necessarily be the case today.

“When cigarettes were first coming around … the cigarette was designed for women, but as time went on, its not about fashion anymore … it’s more of a statement of independence (for everyone),” said Brandon Collins, 23, a political science major.

Like the evolution of female smokers during the 1920s, the evolution of smoking continues today. Only now, the progression is in the product.

“E-cigs (mechanical cigarettes), I think those are the new thing; a lot of people use them to quit smoking … I use them because they are healthier … no tar, no additives … it’s basically water vapor and nicotine, which is healthier for everything but your heart, but, (then again), everything will kill you nowadays,” Collins said.

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