This just in! People who are against smoking, and especially people against kids smoking — including, specifically, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (talk about working at an organization with few detractors) — are quite concerned that those new Camel cigarette packs featuring awesomely cool and rebellious “hipster neighborhoods” like Williamsburg (and for that matter, Austin and Seattle) are going to attract kids because they make cigarettes “seem cool.”
Meanwhile, people who are against the “coolification” of neighborhoods, and the conspicuously annoying mass-market branding of neighborhoods — which are, for God’s sake, just where people live — as “cool” and “rebellious” and “hipster” are against these cigarettes (and said branding) because they are cheesy as shit.
Point of clarification: These packages do not make cigarettes seem cool. If anything, they make cigarettes seem lame. And, somewhat unfairly, they make the neighborhoods in question seem lame, too. Which sometimes they are, but often they are not.
Now, it seems to us that it’s a case of RJ Reynolds wanting to attract the “hipsters” whose neighborhoods they portray on these packs (instead of little kiddos). But there is no way in hell any self-respecting “hipster” (using in quotes now because, damn it, we are really reaching the end of our rope with the word) would actually buy such a pack of cigarettes. Unless it was a very, very self-conscious and excessively ironic joke. The sort of joke that went out in the early aughts.
Thus, Tobacco-Free Kids has a little bit of a point, because while we believe no “hipster” would buy these, kids who want to become “hipsters” because they saw them on TV, once, might. Except, kids who want to become hipsters should probably be “nipped in the bud” in the first place…so to speak. So maybe, in a weird way, RJ Reynolds is doing us a…favor?
Now, a truly rebellious kid? He would smoke a pack with a picture of a man smoking through his own lung-hole and not any pussy “Williamsburg” ciggies. Just ask the smoking baby. Well, before he quit. Such a badass.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 12, 2010