Yves Saint Laurent promotes own-label cigarettes

Cancer risk seems to be of little concern to Yves Saint Laurent, which is promoting and selling cigarettes bearing its designer logo.

The cigarettes, which come in a sleek black box with gold foil, are being marketed towards women in Asia and Russia.

Kate Moss smoking a cigarette on the catwalk during a Marc Jacobs show earlier this year

Kate Moss smoking a cigarette on the catwalk during a Marc Jacobs show earlier this year

They are accompanied by an advertisement featuring a model that looks uncannily like Kate Moss, who came under fierce criticism when she smoked on the Louis Vuitton catwalk earlier this year.

Online retailers, which sell the cigarettes for up to $44 per 200-cigarette pack, reveal that the product first launched in 1989.

Promotional script tells prospective buyers that the label’s “philosophy is to give their cigarettes a classic sophisticated look.”

It continues: “Creating a sense of appeal to female vanity and thereby making the woman who chose to smoke Yves Saint Laurent cigarettes more attractive than one who smokes another brand or more attractive than a woman who did not smoke at all.”

A pack of Yves Saint Laurent

A pack of Yves Saint Laurent

The message is an uncomfortable one for countries like Australia, the UK and the US, where governments invest heavily in anti-smoking messages in order to help prevent the huge number of deaths each year caused by tobacco.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said that Yves Saint Laurent should be ashamed of itself.

She told MailOnline: “Since the advertising ban preventing any advertising promotion or sponsorship by cigarette manufacturers came into force smoking amongst young people has dropped by a third.

“We won’t see Yves St Laurent cigarettes on sale (in the UK), as tobacco companies are banned from using brandsharing to promote smoking in the UK, or anywhere in Europe.

“Sadly in Russia and many parts of Asia, young people are not yet protected from such tobacco industry tactics, and glamorous brands like YSL can be used to suck them into an addiction that will lead to death and disability.

“YSL should be ashamed of itself.”

Research from the American Lung Association reveals that more than 430,000 people in the US die every year from smoking-related diseases, including those who have heart attacks.

Tila Tequila featuring YSL cigarettes

Tila Tequila featuring YSL cigarettes

And according to Cancer Research UK, more than a quarter (28 per cent) of all cancer deaths in Britain are caused by smoking.

It added that tobacco is behind around 90 per cent of lung cancer deaths in men and more than 80 per cent of lung cancer deaths in women in the UK.

Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, famously named a 1966 tuxedo for women called Le Smoking. It is a design that continues to influence fashion today.

YSL follows in the footsteps of Cartier and Pierre Cardin, which have also given tobacco firms permission to use their logo.

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