Thursday, May 11, 2006

American Legacy Foundation Teams Up With Seventeen Magazine to Reduce Smoking (and with Numerous Other Magazines to Increase Smoking)

In another of its self-congratulatory press releases, the American Legacy Foundation announced that it teamed up with Seventeen magazine to offer an issue (the May issue) that is dedicated to smoking issues among girls.

According to the press release: "The American Legacy Foundation and Seventeen Magazine want teen girls to know that while quitting smoking is difficult - it is not impossible. Seventeen's May issue will explore the reasons girls start smoking and methods for them to quit the deadly addiction. And on, Ren(19), from North Carolina is blogging about her experience of quitting smoking after picking up the habit during her freshman year in college."

The Rest of the Story

What the American Legacy Foundation is not telling us is that while it may have teamed up with one magazine to try to reduce smoking among girls, it has also "teamed up" with many other magazines which are trying to seduce girls into smoking. The rest of the story is that the American Legacy Foundation has teamed up with (through corporate partnerships) three major magazine publishers (Time Warner, Conde Nast, and Hearst) which expose millions girls to tobacco advertising that is, in Legacy's own words, trying to "glamorize smoking to young people."

According to Legacy itself: "“Studies have shown that youth are up to three times more receptive to tobacco advertising than adults. ... Public health advocates have long recognized the influence advertising ... has had in glamorizing smoking to young people... tobacco advertising is nonetheless reaching teens and we must do more to de-glamorize smoking in this demographic."

Well if we must do more to de-glamorize smoking in this demographic, teaming up with Seventeen while also teaming up with the major corporations that are bombarding young girls with tobacco advertising and glamorizing smoking to young people is certainly not the solution.

It's difficult to explain Legacy's schizophrenic actions and its blatant hypocrisy, but perhaps there is a positive aspect to this. By teaming up with magazines to promote smoking at the same time as it is teaming up with other magazines to discourage smoking, Legacy can have its cake and eat it too. On the one hand, it can claim that it is doing something to reduce smoking. On the other hand, it is helping to ensure that smoking among girls continues, so that Legacy will continue to be needed. It is thus able to prop itself up as being needed to confront the very problem that is helping to create. It's just beautiful!

And isn't it special that Legacy is helping bring us a blog about a 19-year-old who quit smoking after picking it up during college. Like that is really going to counteract the effects of the millions of exposures to glamorous tobacco advertising in the magazines being brought to us by Legacy's corporate partners.

I think it's quite simple: if Legacy were serious about helping girls to resist the temptation to start smoking, it would immediately rescind its partnerships with Time Warner, Conde Nast, and Hearst. Short of that, anything Legacy does to reduce smoking among girls is merely a marginal effort to help offset the problem that Legacy itself is enabling. And short of that, any propaganda Legacy puts out indicating how much it is doing to help girls avoid tobacco addiction cannot and should not be taken seriously.

For the rest of the story on the magazines with which Legacy is "teaming up with" to promote smoking to girls, see the following posts:

Teaming up with Time Warner

Teaming up with Hearst

Teaming up with Conde Nast

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