A requiem for Reg

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6959.890 (Published 08 October 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:890
  1. S Chapman

    English soldiers captured by the French during the hundred years war often had their index and middle fingers cut off by their captors to render them useless as archers. Those with fingers still intact would taunt the French across the battlefields with the two fingered salute. For many young people today smoking carries a similar message. This message is evocatively captured in the qualitative research reported on pages 933- 7.1

    “Reg,” the humorous caricature used to advertise Imperial Tobacco's Regal brand, was withdrawn for appealing more to children than to adults. Children interviewed in the Glasgow phase of the study described Reg as conveying the right “attitude.” The importance to teenagers of projecting exactly the right attitude is shown by their clothing, hairstyles, music, and language. Why should anyone be surprised if their use of cigarettes is equally bound up in their image?

    Much cigarette advertising can be …

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