Last month, October, was the pink month, dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. All over the world, pink is the color used to remind us of cancer, those who are suffering and have suffered.
However, the color pink will turn deadly with the new edition of Virginia Slims scheduled to be released early next year. And a slap in the face of anti-cancer advocacy groups. In this joint statement by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, American Medical Association and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the mother company of Virginia Slims, Philip Morris is criticized for showing
“…contempt for women and their health by putting a pink gloss on a product that causes lung cancer and heart disease, two of the leading killers of women. It is the height of cynicism that Philip Morris timed its announcement of the new pink Virginia Slims for October – National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – when pink is usually associated with protecting women’s health, not harming it. It doesn’t seem to bother the nation’s largest tobacco company that lung cancer from smoking is, by far, the number one cancer killer of women.”
Virginia Slims’ new look takes the form of a pink purse containing superslim cigarettes.
According to Brandweek
“The Purse Pack, available for Virginia Slims Super Slims Ultra Lights and Virginia Slims Super Slims Lights, is pink, sleek rectangular packaging with square ends. It holds 20 sticks that are smaller in diameter than a typical smoke.”
Two things make this new product appealing to women, especially young girls, the slimness and the color pink. Great marketing gag, you’d say. And nobody can claim an exclusive patent for the color pink.
Right. But from a company who says “Philip Morris USA is committed to marketing responsibly.“, this is very irresponsible indeed. Bad timing, wrong color, bad taste. Especially as this month is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.
The tobacco industry has always been the bad buys in the battle against cancer. History, scientific studies and court cases have proven that the tobacco companies acted very irresponsibly before. It seems they will never change.
The statement goes on to say:
“The Virginia Slims pink purse pack is yet another tobacco industry slap in the face to women. Far from making a fashion statement, the pink purse pack will encourage smoking by women and girls and expose them to its lethal effects. Philip Morris should terminate this cynical marketing ploy immediately, and Congress should quickly enact the bill giving the FDA authority over tobacco products. There is nothing pretty, fashionable or healthy about a product that kills more than 178,000 women in the United States and many more around the world each year.”