Anti-smoking ads featuring reluctant male and female teens with their heads held to a man's crotch and a cigarette in their mouths is sparking an uproar in France. "Smoking is being a slave to tobacco," the ads read. Smoldering feminist and family organizations have lashed the campaign for using images of underage sex to sell a message, and some critics plan to file complaints with the French advertising watchdog agency.
But the ad agency behind the posters insist that only a shock campaign can reach the young teens whose cigarette consumption has zoomed 66% in a few years. "The message here is that tobacco is a form of submission. In the popular imagination, oral sex is the perfect symbol of submission," said a company spokesman. The ads will be shown in newspapers, bars and clubs.
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