Tag Archives: tobacco advertising

Big Tobacco Gets Intimate with Girls and Women with Kiss Cigarettes

Sorry to say, but we are not making this stuff up.

We were researching internet statistics on how many women and men will not date a smoker. They are turned off by the awful ashtray taste and breath odor and wouldn’t think of kissing someone who repels them.

When googling the phrase “kiss a smoker,” we found listed among the top choices a web page advertising a brand of cigarettes completely designed to entice women and young girls to purchase them to become sexier. At first, I thought the title and description couldn’t be real. It had to be a spoof, right? NOT.

Big Tobacco’s Marketing Scheme

Another search lead me to a discount cigarette website selling this brand. The name: “Kiss.” The marketing copy was horrifying, and completely targeting young girls:

Kiss Brand CigarettesKiss cigarettes are produced under the supervision of the British “Innovation Tobacco Company” using the best tobaccos Virginia and Barley. “Innovation Tobacco Company” cooperates with world’s biggest suppliers, which guarantees high quality of all components of Kiss Menthol cigarettes. Discount Kiss cigarettes are created by the excellent cigarette’s foreign specialists.

Kiss cigarettes are manufactured under control of foreign cigarette specialists. Quality is executed at every technological stage level. The secret of the high-quality of Kiss cigarettes is in the balanced selection of discount cigarettes tobacco leaf, cultivated in various corners of the planet like Greece, Brazil, Argentine and Malawi. Kiss cigarettes blend trend—American blend—is the most popular and fashionable nowadays. Kiss Superslims cigarettes brand answers the girls’ wishes to be economic and offers a very reasonable price.

Kiss cigarettes are for those who feel young, bright, self-confident—and a bit crazy!

Innovative Tobacco Products Annual Report

Kiss CigaretteAgain, I can’t make this stuff up. Here is what it should say:

If you want to see who is getting rich at the expense of young girls and women’s health, check out > Innovative Tobacco Product’s annual report.

Act Now on Cigarettes, Expert Says

An Australian adviser to the World Health Organisation has warned the ingredients of strawberry jam face tougher regulation than the deadly contents of cigarettes and has urged the Federal Government to act immediately.

A leading international expert on the health impacts of tobacco smoke, Dr Nigel Gray said he was disgusted that carcinogens in cigarettes remained unregulated, despite killing about 15,000 Australians each year.

“Controls apply to almost every marketed product from the amount of rat droppings permitted in wheat, to the amount of fat allowed in sausages and even the amount of mint allowed in nicotine replacement therapy,” Dr Gray said in an editorial published in the Medical Journal of Australia yesterday.

“It seems astonishing that the federal minister for drug and alcohol policy recently rejected claims that a new tobacco product (a ‘heatbar’, which heats but does not burn tobacco) should be subject to regulation and said there were no plans to even investigate the product.”

In June, The Age revealed that tobacco giant Philip Morris had secret plans to launch Australia’s first hand-held electronic smoking device. Dr Gray worked on a recent report by the WHO, which provided an international blueprint to regulate cigarette smoke and recommended the introduction of controls on two of the most dangerous carcinogens.

“The report found these compounds (nitrosamines) can be substantially removed from the cigarette because they occur during the process of curing tobacco,” Dr Gray said.

The US Government is considering the WHO recommendations and has a bill before Congress that would empower its Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarette emissions.

kangeroo.GIFDr Gray said Australia should do the same.

But federal Minister for the Ageing Christopher Pyne said the Federal Government had banned all tobacco advertising and spent millions of dollars on education.

“For the Government to regulate the contents of cigarettes or to regulate products like the heatbar would undermine the message that all cigarettes are harmful and that quitting is the only option to avoid smoking-related illnesses. This is the approach we will continue to take,” Mr Pyne said.

Cancer Council spokeswoman Anita Tang said a failure to act was an implicit endorsement of cigarettes.

Philip Morris also supported the push for the contents of cigarettes to be regulated, despite opposition from other manufacturers.

Last night, Philip Morris spokeswoman Nerida White said: “We agree that the Australian Government should set in train a process of tobacco regulation, as is being discussed in the bill in the US Congress.”

Ms White said all cigarette manufacturers should be required to disclose the contents of their products.

Source: Cameron Houston, The Age (Australia)

Click to learn more about > carcinogens.

Effects of the World’s Growing Number of Smokers

The past decade has seen a remarkable shift in the way Americans view cigarette smoking.

Since the massive tobacco litigation settlements began in 1997, the federal government has phased out support for tobacco farming, states and cities have enacted public smoking restrictions, and the number of smokers has steadily declined.

Meanwhile, the tobacco industry’s manipulative advertising tactics have become part of the cultural lexicon. In the 2005 big screen satire Thank You For Smoking, the film’s protagonist — a “morally flexible” tobacco lobbyist — admits, “I earn a living fronting an organization that kills 1,200 people a day.”

tobacco.jpgWith Hollywood now taking jabs at its one-time co-conspirator, it’s no wonder that the Centers for Disease Control found that 70 percent of the current 45 million adult smokers in the United States want to quit. While slightly less than half will succeed, the mere desire offers hope that cigarette smoking in America could one-day go the way of trans-fats or MSG.

Such logic, however, does not extend to the tobacco manufacturers themselves. The multinational tobacco corporations have moved their production and marketing efforts overseas, causing experts to predict that by 2010, 87 percent of the world’s tobacco will be grown in the developing world.

Since the ’60s, global production has doubled and 33 million people work cultivating tobacco to serve the world’s 1.2 billion smokers — one-fifth of the world’s population. Meanwhile, according to conservative estimates by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, since 1997 consumption has increased at an annual rate of 1.7 percent in developing countries, meaning people there will smoke 71 percent of the world’s tobacco by 2010.

Deforestation and Land Erosion

Without even factoring in the paper wrapping, packaging and print advertisements — which require as much paper by weight as the tobacco being grown — nearly 600 million trees are felled each year to provide the fuel necessary for drying out the tobacco.

That means one in eight trees cut down each year worldwide is being destroyed for tobacco production.

In South Korea and Uruguay, tobacco-related deforestation accounts for more than 40 percent of the countries’ total annual deforestation. While in Malawi, in a region where only three percent of the farmers grow tobacco, nearly 80 percent of the trees cut down each year are used for the curing process.

Such a rapid depletion of trees in an already semi-arid climate will lead to desertification. Parts of Uganda are currently losing much of their arable land as the topsoil erodes.

Yet farmers in developing countries continue to grow tobacco because of the tremendous financial incentives from multinational corporations like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds. With enticements such as farming supplies or a guaranteed foreign exchange for their crops, farmers are reluctant to use their land for anything else.

Even when some corporations try to boost their green reputation by offering to replant trees on excess farmland, most tobacco farmers use what little land is left to grow food for their families. Moreover, were farmers to stop growing tobacco and only grow food crops — as the Yale University School of Medicine proposed more than a decade ago — 10 to 20 million of the world’s current 28 million undernourished people could be fed.

Aside from land erosion, deforestation also affects the atmosphere, by raising the level of carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming. Scientists affiliated with the climate research group Global Canopy Programme in England have reported that the 51 million acres cut down every year account for nearly 25 percent of heat-trapping gases. By that standard, the 9 million acres being deforested annually for tobacco production account for nearly 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.

Deadly Litter – Effects of Tossing Cigarette Butts and Packages

In the United Kingdom, people throw away 200 million butts and 20 million cigarette packages every day, some of which end up on the street. According to the Tidy Britain Group, cigarette butts make up nearly 40 percent of litter.

Since the filters found in most cigarettes are comprised of 12,000 plastic fibers, they are not biodegradable and can take up to 15 years to break down. Meanwhile, the leftover tobacco releases toxins into the surrounding environment.

According to Californians Against Waste, cleanup of cigarette litter costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year. Even more costly are the losses incurred from fires started by carelessly discarded cigarettes. Not only are they a major cause of forest fires — destroying wildlife and ecosystems — but they are the leading cause of fatal fires in the United States, killing more than a thousand people annually. The tobacco industry is fully capable of selling fire-safe cigarettes — wrapped with several thin bands of less-porous paper that act as “speed-bumps” to slow down a burning cigarette — but it only does so when forced by a state government. So far, only four states have such a mandate in place.

Tobacco Cultivation Poisoning the Developing World

The deadly impact of cigarettes as post-consumer waste is one side of the story. Before being rolled and packaged, the tobacco leaf subjects humans and wildlife to numerous health hazards.

Since it is a particularly sensitive plant, tobacco often requires 16 applications of pesticides during the three-month growing period. In developing countries, where environmental laws are absent or not enforced, chemicals like DDT and dieldrin — both banned in the United States — are sprayed on the tobacco.

These pesticide applications often harm animals that live or feed near them, causing loss of biodiversity or genetic mutations. And runoff and leaching during a rainstorm carry the pesticides into waterways and aquifers, thereby contaminating the drinking supply.

Since tobacco farming requires an estimated 3,000 hours of work per year per hectacre — astonishing when compared to the 265 hours needed to produce maize — field workers endure long hours of exposure to these harmful pesticides.

To make matters worse, most farm workers are in subtropical climates, where an extra layer of clothing — even if it’s for protection — could result in heatstroke. It’s no wonder that pesticide poisoning is almost exclusively a problem in the developing world, where an estimated 25 million poisonings occur each year.

Popular pesticides used on tobacco crops, such as acephate, cause twitching, headaches, salivation, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and death. A study conducted by the University of Rio Grande do Sul, one of Brazil’s largest federal universities, found that the suicide rate among Brazilian tobacco workers between 1979 and 1995 was nearly seven times greater than the national rate.

They also discovered that the occurrence of these suicides corresponded with pesticide sprayings, harvests and preparation for the next year’s crop (the study admitted that its findings were not conclusive, as workers’ depression might also stem from their often insurmountable debt).

Even without pesticides, farm workers are getting sick from the nicotine their skin absorbs while handling wet leaves. This condition has come to be known as green tobacco sickness (GTS) and its symptoms include nausea, weakness, abdominal cramps, and changes in blood pressure and heart rates.

While its hard to estimate the number of people suffering from GTS, one study conducted on migrant workers in North Carolina suggests that 41 percent of tobacco handlers get the illness at least once during harvest season.

Exposure to the plant and its chemicals pose a greater threat to children, increasing the risk of cancer as well as damage to their immune and nervous systems. No figures exist on the number of child tobacco workers worldwide, but many tobacco-growing countries have a history of child labor.

The Norway-based Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research is one of the only organizations in the world to investigate tobacco-production. After researching the use of child labor on African tobacco estates — which are strikingly feudal — Fafo found that 78 percent of the children of tobacco workers between the ages of 10 and 14 work either full or part time with their parents, performing all the tasks of tobacco cultivation.

Solving the Crisis – Eradicate Tobacco

The looting of natural resources, the destruction of ecosystems, and the poisoning and enslavement of people are all reasons to end our dependence on a product that is completely unnecessary to humans. Economic alternatives to tobacco production need to be encouraged, with the goal of eradicating tobacco as a cash crop.

According to the London-based Panos Institute, which specializes in development issues, “Many crops can grow in land that is now under tobacco — they include the majority of grain crops and vegetables. Sugar cane, bananas, coconut, pineapples and cotton could all be suitable.”

Since 1999, the Golden Leaf Foundation has used funds from the settlement with cigarette manufacturers to help farmers in North Carolina transition from a tobacco-dependent economy to alternative programs like goat farming. In this respect, other parts of the world could follow America’s lead.

The fight against tobacco consumption can be won with awareness and education. The industry has suffered a massive blow to its U.S. propaganda machine. Such attacks must continue throughout the world until smoking is not just looked upon as a poor personal health decision, but one that has deadly implications for all the world’s inhabitants.

All news and articles on this site are Copyright by their respective owners.

Bryan Farrell is an independent journalist in New York. He can be contacted at www.bryanfarrell.com

Click to learn more about > tobacco farming.

Original Publication date: October 4, 2007
Source:  http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/64222/?page=entire

Tobacco Giants Targeted African Children to Boost Profits

British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris face allegations that they targeted young and underage smokers in Nigeria to increase smoking rates in developing countries as sales decline in the West.

Lawyers for Nigeria’s largest state, Kano, will argue today that the tobacco companies sponsored pop concerts and sporting events and, in some instances, gave away free cigarettes, to recruit minors to smoking.

Kano is one of four Nigerian states suing BAT Nigeria, its parent company in Britain and Philip Morris International to recover the costs of treating smoking-related diseases.

They are seeking damages of at least $38.6 billion (£19.1 billion).

Kano’s first hearing is today and cases in Gombe and Oyo begin tomorrow and Monday respectively. The Lagos case began in May and more states are expected to join.

Photo of Child “They want to prepare for a problem they know has already been created, as well as restrict the distribution of tobacco to young people,” said Babatunde Irukera, a lawyer representing the state governments. “The public health facilities are over tasked.”

The biggest increase in smoking in Nigeria has been among young people. The number of young women smokers grew tenfold between 1990 and 2001, according to the World Health Organization.

A large part of the plaintiffs’ evidence will come from the tobacco companies’ internal documents, which were released as part of a multi-billion-dollar settlement that the US tobacco industry reached with state governments in the 1990s. The documents, some of which have been seen by The Times, show the companies’ attempts to reach younger smokers by sponsoring well-known musicians, and their efforts to fight tobacco control initiatives.

Although there are laws banning tobacco advertising on billboards and on television and radio, there is no explicit legislation restricting the sale of cigarettes to underage smokers.

The plaintiffs argue that the youth market was and still is important to the tobacco industry, citing a Philip Morris USA report dated March 31, 1981, which says: “Today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer, and the overwhelming majority of smokers first begin to smoke while still in their teens.”

A similar document prepared for BAT, dated July 25, 1991, discusses the habits of younger smokers in Nigeria. “New smokers enter the market at a very early age in many cases: as young as 8 or 9 years seems to be quite common,” according to the report, entitled The Cigarette Market in Nigeria.

A report prepared by the tobacco industry’s lobbying group in Nigeria, TACON, on October 18, 1981, detailed its strategy to defeat a Private Member’s Bill introduced in the House of Representatives to make provisions for warning cigarette smokers of the adverse health effects of smoking.

“It was decided that TACON’s main strategy should be to play down the health argument and concentrate instead on the economic,” the report said. “This proved to be the correct approach especially as Nigeria’s economy has been suffering . . . from the world recession.”

In an internal memo dated May 13, 1991, BAT talked about the use of Nigerian artists to promote its Benson brand, saying: “The young adult music platform of the B&H label is the type of image enhancement we need in Nigeria.”

Stephen Swedlow, an American lawyer who is advising the Nigerian state governments, told The Times: “The international tobacco companies have to develop these . . . markets because the smoking rates in the US and the UK have consistently dropped, based on litigation in the US and public health pressures in the UK.”

A spokeswoman for BAT said that the allegations were completely unfounded. “We don’t market to children and we have never attempted to do so,” she said. “We also actively lobby governments to raise the age at which people are allowed to buy tobacco to 18.”

A spokesman for Philip Morris said: “Philip Morris International and its affiliates do not currently sell cigarettes in Nigeria.”

Source: Times Online

Camel Banks on Allure of No. 9

Curious smokers of both genders have been buying new cigarettes allegedly marketed toward women, while health advocates continue to bristle at the advertising campaign accompanying the new product.

The name of the cigarette, No. 9, calls to mind the name of famous perfumes No. 5 and No. 19 by the legendary design house Chanel. The smokes come in a black box, said to be “dressed to the nines,” trimmed with fuchsia accents. Then there’s the song “Love Potion No. 9” and the movie by the same name that gave Sandra Bullock her big break.

When Janine Paczelt, a manager at The Cigarette Outlet in West Bend was asked about a new cigarette brand, she knew immediately it would be the new Camel.

“Because it’s been on the news, and because it’s the new cigarette – and the new cigarette always causes controversy,” Paczelt said. “Yes, I carry them and, yes, people have asked for them.”

Picture of SmokerMost of Paczelt’s customers seem to buy cigarettes based on price first, then taste. She wasn’t sure how they responded to marketing strategies. She said she had only tried one “No. 9” and described the heaviness of the smoke as between a regular Camel and a Camel Light.

Paczelt said she had a mix of grown men and women asking for the cigarette – no teenagers – more than once a week in the three weeks the outlet has carried it.

“I don’t know the whole women versus men,” said Mary Simon, director of the Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse of Washington County. “I know with the marketing to young people some of the tobacco advocates talk about is that it’s more brand recognition – to get kids familiar with their brand so when they are able to legally make that choice they know they’ve heard about a brand.”

Simon said a lot of women continue to smoke because when they stop they gain weight, which makes the No. 9 tagline, “light and luscious” particularly poignant given research has proven an undeniable link between smoking and heart disease and cancer – the top two causes of death among women.

Maggie Seideman is in charge of programming for cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and wellness for SynergyHealth St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend, which helps people re-build body strength and make healthy choices following a cardiopulmonary health event.

“We’re seeing them when they need something more than changing brands,” Seideman said. “What brings people to the realization that they need to quit the use of tobacco – even though they’ve smoked for years and feel nothing will ever happen to me, or they’re addicted – is once they develop an issue with their breathing and their heart not working, the pain is greater than the pleasure.”

Seideman also leads a smoking cessation discussion group for people who haven’t had a major health event but want to quit smoking. She said she wasn’t sure how much brand marketing influenced smokers who were trying to quit.

She said no one on her staff had heard of the new cigarette until contacted by the Daily News, but soon after Jessica Podolski, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee nursing student shadowing the cardiopulmonary staff, received some promotional material in the mail.

“It’s actually kind of elaborate,” Podolski said. “It’s a big box with flowers on it and it says ‘Camel,’ and when you open it up there’s an offer for a free cigarette case.”

Podolski is not a smoker, but signed up with a Camel promotions worker when she was out one night with a smoker friend in order to get more promotional gifts for her friend.

“Now I’m on their list,” said Podolski about the package. “It says ‘show off smoking style’ or something ridiculous. It’s overly apparent that they’re targeting women. It aggravates me that they’re targeting young teenage girls.”

Podolski said she believes the advertising for No. 9’s in magazines targets underage girls because she couldn’t imagine an adult smoker switching brands because of pink accents on the package.

But Jess Paczelt, an employee at Smokes Cigarette Outlet in West Bend – and Janine’s daughter – said a lot of smokers were asking about the cigarette before it even came out, and not just women.

“It’s more a mix,” Jess Paczelt said. “There’s actually a lot of younger men who are buying them.”

The younger Paczelt said about five customers per day buy No. 9s, and the store always orders more for its biweekly delivery.

This story appeared in the West Bend Daily News on March 27, 2007.