“You’ve come a long way baby!” Remember that slogan? It was for Virginia Slims cigarettes…a tobacco product marketed for women. The concept was that smoking was traditionally a man’s privilege, but not a woman’s. However with Virginia Slims, smoking was not only acceptable, but fashionable and chic. “You’ve come a long way baby!” (Check out the old TV ad) It was a successful marketing campaign that echoed the Women’s Rights movement of the 60’s and 70’s and probably created many fashionably sick women.
But women weren’t the only demographic targeted for smoking needs. Remember the Marlboro Man? What better icon of masculinity…complete with cigarette in his mouth.
As we look back now, I think most of society realizes the fallacy of such claims. Smoking leads to lung cancer or other devastating health conditions…it was a bad thing and still is. Of the friends I have that smoke, every one of them has muttered “I need to quit someday” as they light one up. It’s a bad habit…it’s a proven medical killer…and even the smokers know it’s a bad thing. My mom smoked practically all her life. Bel-Air was her brand. She died in 2005 of lung cancer.
I know this is a skin cancer and melanoma blog site, but it’s also Lung Cancer Awareness Month. This cancer is the biggest cancer killer. And it’s possibly the nastiest of all. Please keep those we’ve lost or those struggling with the disease in your thoughts and offer support of some sort. And don’t blame them for smoking…it used to be the fashionable thing to do.
I’d usually stop my thoughts here, but I’d like for you to think about lung cancer a little longer…and the parallels to melanoma. Smoking was fashionable. Tanning IS fashionable. The tobacco industry was quick to point out the “cool” aspects of smoking. The tanning industry currently touts the cosmetic benefits of a glowing tan. Years of awareness campaigning and class action lawsuits made all of society realize the truth about smoking…even the current smokers realize it’s a bad habit. What about tanning and its relationship to melanoma? Is it time to repeat history?