Just when the tobacco industry thought all hope at encouraging kids and teens to pick up the smoking habit was lost, an old fetish has given it a new foothold into the hearts, and minds, and lungs, of a new generation of smokers.
OK, so call me naive, but I had never heard of "smoking fetish videos" until I came across this story in the Houston Chronicle that discusses the disturbing way these videos are increasing in popularity because of YouTube. Once kept behind closed doors, YouTube offers easy access to teens and tweens who think it's cool to watch these videos as well as misguided young girls who think it's cool to make them. The videos sexualize girls (usually very young girls) while glamorizing smoking. As the mom of two daughters (who I hope steer clear of cigarettes), I find this disturbing on so many levels.
But surely this "cigarette porn" is not accessible to kids, right? Wrong. For the purposes of this article, I checked it out. I won't bother to link to any particular video, but let's just say that there are lots of them posted to the site. And the vast majority of them are as accessible to my kids (even with parental blocking on my computer) as the latest "Sesame Street" clip.
Of course, my girls are too young to surf the Internet alone, particularly sites like YouTube. But as a parent, I think it's just one more thing that we need to keep our eye on.
And one more thing to fret about.