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You look sexy when you smoke, Where did that come from?

Updated: Mar 17, 2023



In late 1920s, Freud's nephew and one of the pioneers in advertising at that time, Edward Bernays ,was approached by one of the biggest tobacco companies. The tobacco company wanted Bernays to increase their sales among women, they thought that having only 50% of the market wasn't enough cause women can't smoke and if they managed to get them hooked their profits would go through the roof. Bernays pulled up his sleeves and got to work, He promoted the idea of "cigarettes over sweet" and that women can smoke instead of eating, and he used magazines to promote the exquisite beauty of a thin women. Bernays efforts brought tobacco companies more revenue, but still the society saw women as sacred and women at that time could only smoke in the privacy of their homes. To change that Bernays went to one of Freud's students and asked him" what can we do to get women hooked?" The psychoanalyst told him that cigarettes represented " torches of freedom" and that was it. Bernays convinced a number of beautiful high class young women including his own secretary to march in the 1929 Easter Day parade in New York City ,down Fifth Avenue. They were marching and lighting up cigarettes as their "torches of freedom" to show their liberation and equality to men. When these women were interviewed in the New York Times they said they were "lighting the way to the day when women would smoke on the street as casually as men" And of course it was a wildly successful campaign that made tobacco companies sales soar till this day. Smoking makes you sexy is an illusion ingrained in our minds by tobacco companies. Smoking damages the collagen in the skin and as a result female smokers are more likely to develop deeper wrinkles worse than non smokers would, add to that yellowing of the fingers and nails, discoloration of the teeth, and even a black hairy tongue, a female smoker in her 40s often has as many facial wrinkles as a non smoker in her 60s, how could that be sexy?

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