Irish Cancer Society slams Met Gala celebs for 'promoting a lethal product' to young people
The Irish Cancer society has slammed a host of celebrities for glamorising cigarettes after photographs emerged from the annual Met Gala, which showed well known faces smoking in the museum's bathrooms.
The society said photographs of 50 Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson, model Bella Hadid and designer Stella McCartney smoking in their gowns at the event set a dangerous example for the fans that follow them.
Sarah Chadwick, Cancer Prevention Officer with the Irish Cancer Society, said celebrities need to realise that they are promoting "a lethal product to young people" when they decide to publicise their smoking.
"Research tells us that young people’s attitudes and decisions in relation to smoking are influenced by the world around them - this includes the media. Celebrities are role models to their young fans who look up to them for being cool, glamorous and successful. Whether they realise it or not, when they smoke in films that will be viewed by children, when they are photographed smoking by paparazzi or when they post pictures of themselves smoking on social media - they are promoting a lethal product to young people and acting as tobacco industry spokespeople," she said.
The society representative said that images such as those from the Monday night's Met Gala damage the progress of anti-smoking organisations around the world.
While tobacco companies can no longer market directly to young people, Chadwick says by posing with cigarettes, celebrities are doing the work for them.
"Smoking rates are at an all-time low of 8pc among 10-17 year olds in Ireland due to large-scale, coordinated and evidence based efforts in tobacco control. Tobacco companies can no longer market their products directly to young people through billboards and TV ads. There has been a great deal of progress made.
"To continue the downward trend towards a tobacco free generation, we need ongoing effort to ensure that our young people are aware of the dangers of smoking and the tobacco industry’s evolving strategies to recruit them as customers."
Chadwick said celebrities should be more conscious of the influence they have on their young fans and wise-up to the danger their behaviour poses.
"Each year, the Irish Cancer Society X-HALE programme works with youth groups across Ireland to educate young people and empower them to drive the movement towards the tobacco endgame. Young people are 'wising-up' to the tobacco industry’s tactics and celebrities should follow their lead."