Continuing the concept of young celebrity icons using cigarettes as a way to rebel against their parents, Charlotte Church has been pictured smoking in the press, heavily in the last few weeks. Church has recently moved in with her DJ boyfriend, despite her mother’s disapproval and has been photographed wearing a T-shirt inscribed with the slogan: ‘My Barbie Is A Crack Whore.’ As an opera singer with the voice and image of an ‘angel’, Church seems to be desperately rebelling against her public-eye persona and her parent’s wishes.

The Sun article in question clearly demonstrates this.The feature presents photographs of Church sunbathing with her boyfriend, wearing very little clothing and smoking a cigarette. Making reference to her current desire to rebel, journalist Clodagh Hartley refers to Church as “Rebel Charlotte” and writes: “Cardiff-born Charlotte has been desperate to dump her Voice Of An Angel image.” Hartley, C. (2003). Through media coverage, it seems that Church is trying to emulate a rather more rebellious and cool persona, than the one that has been created for her through her opera singing career. By representing Church’s current actions through articles and images such as this, young people could, mistakenly, create a link between rebellion and smoking.

The taunting article may, however, deter young people from smoking, when they discover how Church has been dealt with in the press, especially with regard to the writer’s closing comment:”Don’t worry, Charlotte. We all make an ass out of ourselves in our nico-teens.” Hartley, C. (2003). (Appendix Six). Colin Farrell.

 Rodger, J. (2003). hot stars. Oh Gwyn and bear it Colin – this lady does not fancy you! 15 – 21 March 2003. This article, featured in OK! supplement, hot stars, states that notorious ‘ladies man’ and Irish ‘lad’ Colin Farrell has attempted to get a date with Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow, however, turned down Farrell as she is currently in a relationship with Coldplay front man, Chris Martin. The large photograph of Farrell depicts the actor with a sly smile and a cigarette hanging from lips.

In the article, by Jennifer Rodger, Farrell is described as, “hellraiser Colin Farrell”, “The Hollywood bad-boy” and “cocky Colin”. Rodger, J. (2003). The way in which Farrell has been illustrated with a cigarette in his mouth, seems to accentuate the idea of his bad-boy image. As a self confessed ‘fan of casual sex’, Farrell is undoubtedly an icon for teenage males throughout Britain. As a handsome ex-model and Hollywood actor, he is also likely to attract the attention of young females.

By writing an article about Farrell’s womanising traits and illustrating it with a photograph of him smoking this could be a clear link from ‘cool’ and rebellious behaviour, to smoking, for young people.Evan Dando. Harris, S. (2003). Time Out London. Evan’s wait. February 26 March 2003.

 Time Out London featured a three-page article on rock star and ex lead singer for the Lemonheads, Evan Dando, which included a full-page photograph of him holding a cigarette. Being a notoriously impure celebrity, Dando is described in the article as a: “Pop pin-up and drug fuck up” Harris, S. (2003). Similarly to the case of Colin Farrell, the fact that Dando is smoking on the photograph accompanying the article, is almost illustrating his ‘bad-boy’ image.

A quote in large font is positioned in the centre of the text reading: “‘I wasn’t gonna leave this silly planet without shooting up – it’s a beautiful process, you know’.”Interviewer, Sophie Harris, comments on Dando’s smoking habit in the article by linking it with his previous heroin addiction: “He’s been sober for nine months now, and talks almost as enthusiastically as he smokes.” Harris, S. (2003). Her following sentence describes Dando’s appearance: “Still confoundingly handsome (surf-pretty hair, square set shoulders).” Harris, S. (2003). It is unfortunate that the two factors are coupled together in such a manner, as this may suggest that cigarettes have a connection to being rugged and handsome.

The reality that Dando was in fact a former drug addict also symbolises rebellion to greatest extent. This is one thing young people may pick up on and that should never be associated with cigarettes.Teen Magazine, Bliss, celebrity smoking article: (Appendix Eight): Bliss.

Puff Baddies. (2003). April issue In April 2003, Teenage magazine, Bliss, featured an article exposing celebrity smokers: “Smoking is so not a good look. Just take a look at this mingin’ lot.” Bliss. (2003).

 This magazine is acting responsibly towards its readership, through highlighting the unattractive image of celebrity smokers, rather than condoning the habit.The article pictures celebrities such as Ben Affleck, P Diddy and Jenny Frost pulling on their cigarettes. The amusing captions ridicule the celebrities because of their habit and the message of the article is made clear through the National No Smoking Day details being provided. The fact that a teenage magazine should convey such a message is commendable, especially in comparison to the other forms of print media that have been studied. The theory that merely printing these images could encourage young people to smoke, should still be considered, however the anti-smoking message of this article is certain and therefore it appears positive.Many other influential, successful and glamorous stars to have been photographed with a cigarette, include, Samantha Janus: (Appendix nine), Kate Winslett: (Appendix ten), Britney Spears: (Appendix eleven) fifties film icon, Audrey Hepburn: (Appendix twelve) and Courtney Love: (Appendix thirteen). Conclusion Despite the recent ban on the advertising and promotion of tobacco in the media, it is a fact that images of smoking are still widespread and easily witnessed by young people. It is perhaps too early to understand the extent of the effect the recent government anti-smoking attempts have had the youth of today.

The Department of Health study, (Guardian, 2001), the School’s Health Education Report (BBC, 2003), and the School Health Unit Report (Guardian, 2003), however, show that smoking in teenagers is still on the increase.An article written by Dave Hitt reveals his theory that to some young people, smoking is cool and this supports the theory that smoking has an element of rebellion and taboo. According to Hitt, it is possible that government action, such as condemning smoking, raising taxes and enforcing age limits, causes smoking to appear more cool, not less. Hitt, D. (1999). In her study, A Closer Look at the Media’s Influence on Tobacco Use on College Campuses, Erin Abraham states that smoking can make it easier for a young person to integrate and feel part of a group. As aforementioned, Abraham’s study gives clear indications of some of the primary reasons young people take up smoking. These reasons are often due to the insecurities and low self-esteem experienced by young people and their desire to ‘fit-in’.

The study by Abraham, also looks at the way smoking is represented through Hollywood celebrities. According to Abraham, “For decades, Hollywood and the tobacco industry have walked hand in hand, promoting and glamorising tobacco use”. Abraham states that famous stars, throughout the Forties and Fifties, such as Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Lauren Bacall helped make cigarettes appear sexy and sophisticated.According to Abraham, the young Hollywood stars such as Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston, and Neve Campbell, who are constantly pictured smoking in the media, help to promote the tobacco industry and make smoking appear to be a cool and acceptable activity in our society.

Abraham’s study enables a correlation to be found between the theory that young people are effected both by the media and influenced by celebrities a certain extent, as direct influences from peers and the family are much more influential.


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