9:26 AM EST
Bon Appétit = Death
I was told I was being over-dramatic, that I shouldn’t let it get to me, that as a writer of a food blog I shouldn’t burn bridges with one of the subject’s most popular journals. But, I argued, if you don’t have convictions, what are you left with? And what has me so hot under the collar? Cigarette ads in Bon Appétit.
First, a little background. At the age of 24 I was diagnosed with cancer. Never smoked a day in my life. At the age of 24 I was faced with the very real possibility of dying. Second, 500 Tasty Sandwiches is not my full-time gig. My full-time gig, which I’m tremendously passionate about, is as a research oncologist at one of the world’s leading cancer research institutions. The terrible reality of cancer, what it does to a person, what it does to his or her family and friends, this is what I deal with day in and day out.
So, in short, it sickens me to find cigarette ads in a lifestyle magazine like Bon Appétit. The decision to accept advertising dollars from Big Tobacco and think nobody will object is a huge misstep. The message Bon Appétit sends is clear: its publishers can justify compromising the health of its readers – among them, children – if the price is right; that, to them, it is acceptable to have a recipe for chicken cacciatore on one page and a full-page ad for American Spirit on the next. What is this, the 1970s!?
In the words of RuPaul, my goal is to always come from a place of love but sometimes you just have to break it down for a motherfucker. So, Bon Appétit, understand this: An advertisement is an endorsement and you’ve made the decision to endorse smoking. To young people you’ve made the decision to present a desirable lifestyle which includes smoking. Bon Appétit, what you are doing is disgusting, irresponsible and inexcusable. Your offices are in the same city as my hospital. I invite you for a tour to see first hand how cancer can ravage the body, to decide for yourself if I’m being over-dramatic in my reaction to finding cigarette ads in your magazine.