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Those Wacky French Folks. We Don’t Quite Get This PSA.

This French public service announcement is kind of like one of those eye trick images where you see either a vase or the outline of two faces. Is it trying to say that smoking is like giving a BJ to the tobacco industry? Or is the message that oral sex is as risky as smoking a ciggy? Well, Slate Double X has cleared it up with their handy-dandy French translation skills. Apparently, it’s the former—the text at the bottom reads, “Smoking is being tobacco’s slave,” and a spokesperson for the ad agency that made it explains, “The goal was simply to say ‘You are subjecting yourself to smoking.’ There is no analogy between sex and tobacco.” Huh? Also, I’m a little confused as to why, in the two male versions of the ad, the exec is wearing his suit jacket, while in the version with a teenage girl, he’s down to just his dress shirt? Or am I just reading too much into this now? [Double X]

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