An unwelcome plug for chewing tobacco

Skoal2_1_2Chewing tobacco just isn’t blessed with many spontaneous celebrity endorsements. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Corp., makers of Skoal dip, must have been at least somewhat pleased, then, when Gretchen Wilson wrote a song called “Skoal Ring” for her latest album—even though the country singer’s main talent seems to lie in calling herself a redneck. (“I’m redneck woman/And I ain’t no high-class broad/I’m just a product of my raisin’/And I say “Hey, y’all” and “Yee-haw,” goes her hit song.) But Skoal will take what it can get. That is, unless Tennessee’s attorney general intervenes. Paul Summers doesn’t have an issue with the song, but he is unhappy with Wilson’s live performance of it, which typically includes her pulling a tin of Skoal from her pocket as she sings. With that flourish, Summers believes, Wilson is publicly glamorizing tobacco use and thus may be violating the tobacco settlement provision forbidding tobacco ads targeting young people. Instead of seductively playing with the tin, perhaps Wilson could start actually dipping on stage. That would take care of the glamour problem.

—Posted by Tim Nudd