Tag Archives: tobacco companies

The Smoke Economy – How Big Tobacco Keeps Growing

Fewer people are smoking – that means tobacco companies are making less money, right? Unfortunately, according to this infographic from purplebox; tobacco companies are pulling in record profits despite lower sales. It is, of course, fantastic that the number of cigarettes being sold in the U.S fell by 37% between 2001 and 2016, but since 2006, the operating profits of US tobacco manufacturers have increased by 77% to a massive $18.4 billion.

Tax on Cigarettes

The tax on cigarettes in the U.S is 42% and this is actually quite low relative to places like the UK who tax cigarettes at 82%. Interestingly, both California and New York are looking to increase the tax on cigarettes. It will likely be the customer who foots the bill here as if you’re addicted to smoking; you simply have to pay whatever price is being charged.

Smokers Increasing

When you consider the world as a whole, the number of smokers is actually going to increase from 1 billion right now to 1.64 billion by 2025. Tobacco companies are always willing to pivot and they can target new markets if they feel others are starting to wane.

For example, one big name is British American Tobacco and they have recently been targeting the less educated African markets. They are currently facing lawsuits related to past and future health care costs related to smoking.

Expensive Habit

The tax will likely continue to go up on cigarettes but unfortunately, an addiction is powerful and people can’t simply quit when the price of a pack goes up by $2. They will generally make cutbacks in other areas of their lives to pay the extra cost. Tax on cigarettes is a good thing but for the smokers left behind; it can turn into an extremely expensive habit to feed.

Read more about how the smoke economy continues to grow in the following infographic:

The Smoke Economy

Workings Farming Tobacco

The Poverty Trap of Tobacco Farmers in Developing Countries

To keep up with the demand for tobacco, transnational tobacco companies and manufacturers encourage farmers in developing countries to grow the plant.

This crop has been promoted as a solution to the extensive poverty these farmers experience.

Tobacco farmers receive low wages, put in long hours to tend to this intensive crop, and all benefits are had by the tobacco industry.

Intensive Labour Met with Low Wages & Returns

Tobacco is one of the most labour intensive crops. Almost everything, from seeding to harvesting, is done by hand. Farmers in developing countries enlist the help of the entire family to tend to the plants, including young children. As a result, these children miss out on valuable educational experiences that could serve as the key to breaking the poverty cycle.

Workings Farming Tobacco

Hiring extra labour is difficult for the farmers as well, as it is expensive to cover the wages for workers when the work day can last 16 hours or more and the return on investment is very low. Many tobacco farmers are lucky to break even at the end of the year, while others experience very low return for their hard work: for example, one farmer in Vietnam earns $250 US for every $130 US he invests.

Health & Safety Concerns of Tobacco Farming

The potential for tobacco farmers to be diagnosed with Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS) is high. GTS occurs when nicotine is absorbed from handling wet green tobacco leaves. Symptoms of this illness include: nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, headaches, dizziness, cramps, respiratory problems, and blood pressure fluctuations.

These farmers are also exposed to extensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which can lead to skin rashes, dehydration, sleeping difficulties, and lung problems.

Environmental Concerns from Tobacco Crops

Farming tobacco plants creates environmental degradation. The pesticides and chemicals that are applied to the plants pollutes the fields and leeches nutrients from the soil. in the curing process, farmers use coal, a major air polluter, and massive amounts of wood. In fact, approximately 200,000 hectares of wood is used annually in the curing process around the world.

Substitute Crops

The governments of many developing countries are promoting to tobacco farmers other crops to diversify. For example, the Malaysian government has since 2005 offered financial incentives for tobacco farmers to substitute their growing operations with more sustainable, less labour intensive crops that yield higher financial returns, such as:

  • corn, rice, barely
  • kenaf and jathropa
  • dragon fruit, pineapple, sweet potato, and banana

To learn more about this poverty cycle, watch this informational short film.

The Tobacco Trap: Cycle of Poverty

Book Cover for Ending the Tobacco Holocaust

The Tobacco Holocaust: Actions to Take for a Tobacco-Free World

Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Rabinoff is the author of the award-winning book Ending the Tobacco Holocaust: How Big Tobacco Affects Our Health, Pocketbook, and Political Freedom—And What We Can Do About It (Elite Books).

In this book, Dr. Rabinoff offers readers great detail on every aspect of the tobacco industry as well as how we can easily regain control of our health and economic welfare.

Ending the Tobacco Holocaust also details what we as a society can do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to the tobacco industry.

Tobacco: Health and Financial Suicide

Dr. Rabinoff, an avid researcher and writer on the effects of tobacco on health, the economy, and politics, talks about “health and financial suicide” in Ending the Tobacco Holocaust. By detailing the strategies Big Tobacco have to ensure consumers buy and keep buying their brands of cigarettes, Dr. Rabinoff hopes to empower both smokers and non-smokers to save lives from this preventable “holocaust.”

Book Cover for Ending the Tobacco HolocaustDr. Rabinoff was motivated to write this book because he has played witness throughout his medical and psychiatric career to the devastating effects smoking has on the body, the mind, and interpersonal relationships. From witnessing people with cancer and tumors, suffering from strokes and heart attacks, to their loved ones also trying to cope with these preventable smoking-related diseases, Dr. Rabinoff calls the tobacco industry and the act of smoking a “war” that goes on every day. He discusses ways in which people can help fight this war and combat the effects it has on stress and coping levels.

Free Book Offer

Dr. Rabinoff states that he shared his observations, concerns, and tips for action with readers in order to “educate and empower people to take simple actions that will create a better world for everyone.”

Toward a Tobacco-Free World is the e-book version of Dr. Rabinoff’s Ending the Tobacco Holocaust. Anyone concerned for themselves or their loved ones over the health and economic effects of smoking can download this resource and learn what a tobacco-free world will be like.

For your free e-book, please click > Toward a Tobacco-Free World

FTC Discontinues Tar and Nicotine Test

After 42 years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has ended a test to measure the amount of tar and nicotine in cigarettes.

According to the Associated Press, the FTC decided to discontinue the testing for two reasons: the test itself was flawed, and tobacco companies could use the results to promote one brand of cigarette over another.

The test was known as the Cambridge Filter Method, the A.P. reports, and on Nov. 26 the FTC commissioners voted unanimously to discontinue it. Saying that the FTC would no longer be a “smokescreen” for tobacco companies’ marketing programs, Commissioner Jon Leibowitz told the wire service, “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship.”

Over the years, many cigarette advertisements had promoted low tar and nicotine levels in some brands, using the phrase, “by FTC method.” Insofar as the testing itself was concerned, it had long been criticized by scientists because it never took into account how people smoked, such as how deeply they inhaled, the A.P. reports.

Cigarette Smoke The National Cancer Institute acknowledged that the Cambridge Filter Method did measure changes in design and quantity of tar and nicotine, but there has never been any evidence that so-called light cigarettes reduced disease caused by smoking, the wire service reports.

FTC Rescinds Guidance On Cigarette Testing

For over four decades the tobacco industry has used machine testing approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to measure tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes.

But in a 4-0 vote, the FTC has now shunned the tests, known as the Cambridge Filter Method, rescinding guidance it established 42 years ago.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that cigarette design changes had reduced the amount of tar and nicotine measured by smoking machines using the Cambridge Filter Method. However, there was no evidence the changes reduced disease in smokers. Furthermore, the machine does not account for ways in which smokers adjust their behavior, such as inhaling deeper or more often to maintain nicotine levels.

The FTC said the test method is flawed, and results in erroneous marketing of tar and nicotine levels that could deceive consumers into believing that lighter cigarettes were more safe.  The move means that future advertising that includes the tar levels for cigarettes will not be permitted to include terms such as “by FTC method.”  “Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship,” said FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz.  “Simply put, the FTC will not be a smokescreen for tobacco companies’ shameful marketing practices.”

Using current methods, cigarettes with a tar levels in excess of 15 milligrams per cigarette are typically called “full flavored”, while those with less than 15 milligrams are considered “low” or “light”. Cigarettes with tar levels below 6 milligrams are regarded as “ultra low” or “ultra light.”  “The most important aspect of this decision is that it says to consumers that tobacco industry claims relating to tar and nicotine are at best flawed and most likely misleading,” Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, told Reuters.

The commission said that during the 1960s it believed that providing consumers with uniform, standardized information about tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes would help them make better decisions. At that time, most public health officials believed that reducing the amount of tar in a cigarette would also reduce a smoker’s risk of lung cancer. However, that belief no longer exists.Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced legislation earlier this year that would prohibit companies from making claims based on data derived from the Cambridge testing method.  But the bill did not progress to the Senate for a full vote.  “Tobacco companies can no longer rely on the government to back up a flawed testing method that tricks smokers into thinking these cigarettes deliver less tar and nicotine,” said Lautenberg.

Pamela Jones Harbor, an FTC commissioner, called on Congress to approve the regulation of the tobacco industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a move that would authorize government scientists to monitor, analyze and regulate cigarette components.  Tobacco companies have been clear over the years in saying that there is no such thing as a safe cigarette.

In a statement by Philip Morris USA, the United States’ largest tobacco company, the company said it is committed to working with the federal government to identify and adopt testing strategies that improve on the Cambridge method.

FTC BuildingThe FTC said that all four major domestic cigarette makers told commissioners the 1966 recommendations should be retained until a suitable replacement test was approved.  Philip Morris told commissioners that eliminating the current guidance could lead to a “tar derby”, in which cigarette makers would employ different methods to measure yields in their cigarettes, leading to greater consumer confusion.

Source:  Red Orbit

Big Tobacco Companies Covered Up Radiation Dangers From Smoking

Tobacco companies have covered up for 40 years the fact that cigarette smoke contains a dangerous radioactive substance that exposes heavy smokers to the radiation equivalent of having 300 chest X-rays a year.

Internal company records reveal that cigarette manufacturers knew that tobacco contained polonium-210 but avoided drawing public attention to the fact for fear of “waking a sleeping giant”.

Polonium-210 emits alpha radiation estimated to cause about 11,700 lung cancer deaths each year worldwide. Russian dissident and writer Alexander Litvinenko died after being poisoned with polonium-210 in 2006.

The polonium-210 in tobacco plants comes from high-phosphate fertilisers used on crops. The fertiliser is manufactured from rocks that contain radioisotopes such as polonium-210 (PO-210).
The radioactive substance is absorbed through the plant’s roots and deposited on its leaves. 

People who smoke one-and-a-half packets of cigarettes a day are exposed to as much radiation as they would receive from 300 chest X-rays a year, according to research.

New health warning labels such as “Cigarettes are a major source of radiation exposure” have been urged by the authors of a study published in this month’s American Journal of Public Health. 

“This wording would capitalise on public concern over radiation exposure and increase the impact of cigarette warning labels,” the Mayo Clinic and Stanford University authors say.

Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said Australian tobacco companies were not legally obliged to reveal the levels of chemicals contained in cigarettes. This made it difficult to know exactly how damaging PO-210 was and meant it was impossible to know what effect it had on other poisons contained in cigarettes.

“It (PO-210) is obviously highly toxic and we applaud any efforts to publicise the dangers,” she said. “But the industry needs to be better regulated before we can support specific warnings.” 

Inhalation tests have shown that PO-210 is a cause of lung cancer in animals. It has also been estimated to be responsible for 1% of all US lung cancers, or 1600 deaths a year.

The US authors analysed 1500 internal tobacco company documents, finding that tobacco companies conducted scientific studies on removing polonium-210 from cigarettes but were unable to do so.  “Documents show that the major transnational cigarette manufacturers managed the potential public relations problem of PO-210 in cigarettes by avoiding any public attention to the issue.”

Second Hand Smoke Laces the AirPhilip Morris even decided not to publish internal research on polonium-210 which was more favourable to the tobacco industry than previous studies for fear of heightening public awareness of PO-210.

Urging his boss not to publish the results, one scientist wrote: “It has the potential of waking a sleeping giant.” Tobacco company lawyers played a key role in suppressing information about the research to protect the companies from litigation.

The journal authors, led by Monique Muggli, of the nicotine research program at the Mayo Clinic, say: “The internal debate, carried on for the better part of a decade, involved most cigarette manufacturers and pitted tobacco researchers against tobacco lawyers. The lawyers prevailed.

“Internal Philip Morris documents suggest that as long as the company could avoid having knowledge of biologically significant levels of PO-210 in its products, it could ignore PO-210 as a possible cause of lung cancer.”

Source: William Birnbauer, Theage.com.au

Coldcut: The Truth About Big Tobacco Companies

This video provides a quick flash of facts about the history of Big Tobacco.

Learn facts and how the truth of nicotine addiction was manipulated, twisted, and denied.

For instance, in 1943 Philip Morris claimed their cigarettes cleared coughs, then in 1961 Philip Morris research identifies cancer-causing compounds in cigarettes three years before Surgeon General’s report.

Tobacco Companies Alter Cigarettes to Keep You Smoking

A doctor from the American Cancer Society reports on how large tobacco companies keep you smoking.

By upping nicotine in cigarettes each year and intensifying the concentration smokers stay addicted.

Even though smoking is responsible for one in five deaths in the US, the Tobacco industry has no qualms about using nicotine addiction and dependency to line their pockets.

UT takes $445,000 of Philip Morris Money for Tobacco Grower Research

Should the University of Tennessee accept money from the tobacco industry to help promote the growth of domestic tobacco production?

That ethical question has yet to be debated—even nearly six months after UT quietly received a one-year $445,000 grant from Philip Morris to establish and operate a Center for Tobacco Grower Research in Morgan Hall on the Knoxville campus.

News of the grant is coming as a surprise to anti-smoking activists and even UT staff.

“It blows me away that UT would take money from a cigarette manufacturer, knowing that smoking kills,” says Douglas Benton, an Alcoa resident who earned a business degree at UT and founded No Smoking in Restaurants in Tennessee (NoSIR) in 2005. “I don’t like people making one penny off killing other people. I don’t understand why my university would try to help farmers to make more money selling something that has no possible benefit at all to a human.”

UT initially released its big news to ag extension agents, tobacco growers, and Burley strade publications where the reaction was positive. The inaugural Nov. 29 press release unabashedly quotes Philip Morris’ Vice President of Leaf, Jeanette Hubbard: “Because American tobacco is the backbone of our blends, a stable supply of U.S. tobacco is very important to Philip Morris USA. That’s why we are pleased to work with the University of Tennessee to support sustainability of U.S. tobacco production through the research conducted by the center.”

But there’s been hardly a murmur about the ethics of accepting funding from a manufacturer of tobacco products, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say cause 438,000 deaths in the United States per year, representing 5.5 million years of potential life lost and $167 billion in health-care costs and lost productivity annually.

“I’m not really catching any heat,” says the center’s director Daniel Green, who also worked with the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. “Obviously you get some questions about, ‘Why tobacco?’ but we’re getting a lot of support from the growers.”

This support from growers will probably continue—after all, they stand to gain production and industry information that hasn’t been available since the 2004-2005 federal tobacco-quota buyout terminated federal tobacco price-support and supply-control programs, and the center’s research will undoubtedly provide them with ways to produce more competitively in the new free-market economy.

But away from the burley fields, opposition and outrage are mounting as more members of Tennessee’s public health community and UT alumni learn of the center’s creation and the source of its funding.

Jenny Carico, a nurse at Student Health Services who earned her Bachelor’s of Nursing at UT, says tobacco money funding anything on campus is ill-advised and unethical. “I think a great deal of tobacco marketing is geared to my patient population and it makes me spitting mad,” she says.

Tobacco According to the state Department of Health’s Prevalence of Tobacco Use in Tennessee, 1997-2007, smoking prevalence among adults ages 18-24 years is around 29 percent, compared to 22.6 percent of the state’s general population and 20.1 percent for the United States on the whole.

“The cigarette manufacturers are gunning for these kids with marketing that gets them started smoking at an age when they think they’re bulletproof,” she says. “By the time they figure out they’re not, they have to deal with the reality that tobacco is addictive, sometimes at great expense to their health—that’s not the kind of profit we want funding university research.”

The agricultural portion of the university community, though, doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

“You know, tobacco is still a legal commodity for farm owners to produce,” says Green, himself a non-smoker though he grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky. “Here, it’s just a part of agriculture—an important part of agriculture.”

Kelly Tiller, an assistant professor at UT’s Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, whose work is partially funded by Philip Morris, explains the agricultural community’s emotional disconnect between tobacco fatalities and the product they grow as a long-time cultural phenomenon, one that hasn’t changed much even though around three-fourths of the state’s tobacco growers ceased production after the federal tobacco-quota buyout.

“To them, tobacco growing is viewed as a legal farm enterprise that has provided a significant economic base for many of our rural communities for a very long time, and is tightly integrated into those communities,” Tiller says.

The research center, she says, will also emphasize tobacco merely as an agricultural commodity. “The data will revolve around the farm part of production, not cigarettes or any other manufactured products.”

All of the center’s reports and survey results will be available to the general public, ordinarily from summaries on the center’s website—with no proprietary information for Philip Morris. The benefit to the tobacco giant will be shared by other manufacturers and growers, says Tiller.

And Green hopes that more farmers will decide to grow tobacco because of the center’s research, which could also benefit Philip Morris and other national cigarette and tobacco-product manufacturers.

“While the primary objective will be to collect and disseminate information necessary to enhance the long-term sustainability of U.S. tobacco production, research conducted by the center may improve the success of current growers or attract new or former growers to the industry,” he says.

Green insists that more tobacco farmers, in Tennessee and other tobacco-growing states, would be good for the farm economy.

But Chastity Mitchell, contract lobbyist for the grassroots Campaign for Healthy & Responsible Tennessee (CHART), based in Nashville, is skeptical of more farmers getting in—or getting back to—tobacco production. She’s also wary of Philip Morris’ interest in Tennessee starting in 2007, the same year the state passed the Non-Smokers Protection Act prohibiting smoking in most public places and workplaces, increased its cigarette tax by $0.42 to $0.62 per pack, and significantly increased funding for its tobacco control program.

“I find it interesting that after the big policy year that we had in 2007…that Philip Morris would make this kind of significant investment in Tennessee to sustain the tobacco economy and even to try to recruit new growers,” says Mitchell, who has worked in Tennessee in tobacco control for the past eight years, including stints with the American Heart Association and as Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society. “We’ve seen, over the years, that domestically grown tobacco is just a minute fraction compared to what tobacco companies purchase worldwide.”

And growers had good reasons to get out of the tobacco business back in 2005—and to continue to stay out, says Mitchell. “They wouldn’t make the same money that they did with price supports, they don’t have the allotment anymore…and to try to get them back, especially when manufacturers like Philip Morris are continuing to buy more and more overseas, it’s just a really strange situation.”

The Philip Morris investment may also cast a shadow on UT Agricultural Economics’ relationship with the public health community, says Mitchell, even though they’ve historically collaborated on tobacco issues that affected both groups, facilitated by Tiller, who was a tobacco policy analyst almost nine years before the research center’s creation.

“I think those collaborations fostered a good bit of communication, but now that we know Dr. Tiller is involved with this Tobacco Research Center, and Philip Morris is underwriting it, it would certainly make those in the public health community hesitant to sit down and have an open dialogue with the tobacco growers, knowing how they’re funded.”

At least on the surface, the Philip Morris money does not seem to benefit the University of Tennessee’s bottom line. It does cover Green’s entire salary and overhead at his Morgan Hall office, but he’s a new hire, not an existing member of the faculty. A small portion goes to cover part of Dr. Tiller’s salary, and a graduate assistant who would come from the Agricultural School is budgeted, but hasn’t been hired. The vast majority pays for data collection expenses.

But even if UT won’t get a new wing for the Ag school, or millions in discretionary funds, NoSIR’s Benton can see no excuse for taking Philip Morris money.

“It’s incredible that an institute of higher learning would promote smoking when ordinarily the more educated people are, the less likely they are to smoke,” Benton says. “I think the university has to learn to be like the rest of us…that sometimes you just have to put your foot down and say, ‘No.’”

Source: —Rose Kennedy, Metro Pulse

The “Sunny Side” of Tobacco

Washington, DC, February 22, 2008

In 2008, the truth® youth smoking prevention campaign unleashes music, dancing and cartoons to reveal the “sunny side” of tobacco use and the tobacco industry.

The American Legacy Foundation®’s edgy truth® campaign is designed to educate teens about tobacco by exposing Big Tobacco’s marketing practices, as well as highlighting the toll of tobacco use in relevant and innovative ways.

Facts About the Tobacco Industry

The industry has been found by a Federal judge to have manipulated the amount of nicotine delivered by its cigarettes to create and sustain addiction.1 At the same time, research indicates that nicotine is highly addictive.

Research has shown that the tobacco industry “youth prevention” ads aimed at parents actually increased the likelihood that teens will smoke in the future

Finally, according to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2005 the industry spent nearly 36 million dollars each day marketing its products in the U.S. alone.

The latest truth® campaign aims to shine a light on some of these activities and satirically point out some of the “hidden positives” associated with tobacco.

The “Sunny Side of truth®” television ads unfold in a way reminiscent of previous truth® ads – with young people on the streets doing real truth® stunts like gathering in front of tobacco industry headquarters buildings. But then the spots continue in a saccharin sweet, yet super-sarcastic fashion.

When the young people consider a tobacco fact and the “sunny side” of Big Tobacco, a live singin’-and-dancin’ musical number breaks out. Despite the musical diversion, the ads remain gritty, real, and true to the campaign, delivering a strong anti-tobacco message or illuminating facts about tobacco.

In reality, there is no sunny side to the issue of tobacco use in America; more than 400,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-related diseases, specifically 45,000 African-Americans have lost their lives to tobacco use. The tobacco industry continues to use questionable practices in promoting and marketing its products despite these recent morbidity statistics.

Case Against Major Tobacco Companies

On August 17th, 2006, in the Department of Justice’s racketeering case against the major tobacco companies, a federal court found that the tobacco industry was guilty of more than 50 years of racketeering and fraud in promoting its deadly products.

More recently, in the spring of 2007, one company – R.J. Reynolds – introduced a new product called Camel No. 9, which featured slick black and fuchsia packaging and was heavily advertised in many publications that reach millions of young women. Despite the female-friendly packaging and placement in leading women’s fashion magazines, the tobacco industry maintained that Camel No. 9s were not designed for young women. In November 2007, R.J. Reynolds announced that in 2008, it would not spend money on print advertising, including the Camel No. 9 campaign. However, the product continues to be sold on store shelves and R.J. Reynolds will continue to devote resources to promoting the brand through “bar nights” and other activities.

Sunny side cigarettes

The “Sunny Side of truth®” campaign will roll out the week of January 22, 2008 and run through the end of October 2008. In addition to national television and online advertising, a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will extend the campaign to smaller, rural markets that have high smoking rates and limited exposure to truth® ads. The CDC recently renewed a three-year $3.6 million matching grant that will allow for higher penetration of truth® ads in smaller television markets.

“With the Foundation continuing to face a decline in funding, our strategy is always to try and extend our resources as best we can while staying relevant with teens,” said Cheryl G. Healton, Dr. P.H., president and CEO of the American Legacy Foundation®. “Whether it’s by watching American Idol and High School Musical, or by tuning in to music on their I-Pods, we know this generation of teens is enthralled with singing and dancing. The ‘Sunny Side’ ads and their music, dancing, and animation are a terrific new approach for truth® to continue to engage teens and share important tobacco facts with them. ” Healton added that the campaign’s robust online presence – both through thetruth.com Web site and various truth® homepages on social networking sites, will also capitalize on music and animation to capture teens’ attention.

The “Sunny Side” television spots all feature music, dancing and lyrics written by established Broadway professionals and performed by actors joined by cartoon characters such as unicorns, Cupids, storks and others. The Sunny Side campaign marks the first time truth® has used animation in its advertising.

Anti-Tobacco TV Spots

The first two television spots, Magical Amount and Typo, roll out in January and February 2008 respectively.

In Magical Amount, a teen is shown setting bear traps in a park in New York City, with a pack of cigarettes as bait. The bear traps serve as an analogy for the addiction faced by potential smokers. A teen begins to speak into a bullhorn, informing the passersby that “In 2006, a federal judge found that, to keep smokers addicted, Big Tobacco manipulated nicotine levels. But too much nicotine can make you sick.” The teens are interrupted by a unicorn who explains “That’s why they need the magical amount.” The unicorn is joined by other fantastical creatures that begin to sing about how the tobacco companies have found the “magical amount” to keep smokers addicted. The ad ends with the teen and the magical characters looking at each other in disbelief. The words “The Sunny Side of truth®!” appear on screen before it fades to black.

Typo opens on some teens in front of a tobacco company headquarters unrolling an enormous document with the heading “Tobacco Related Deaths” printed on it. One teen says “Wait until we show tobacco executives the five million people around the world who died from their products last year,” when the teen with him suggests that “Maybe we’re being too negative. Look on the bright side. Like, maybe it’s a typo or something.” Animated typewriters, documents, and liquid paper then fill the screen and accompany the teens as they sing about how statistics on the millions of deaths from tobacco could have just been a typo. Again, the ad ends with the teens and the characters looking at each other in disbelief. The words “The Sunny Side of truth®!” then appear on screen before fading to black.

Talent and Production

David Yazbek, a Tony-nominated lyricist and composer, wrote the music featured in the campaign. Yazbek is best known for his career as a Broadway composer and lyricist. His two shows, The Full Monty and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, are both hits that have played all over the world (more than 20 countries and counting). The shows received 21 Tony Award nominations combined and Yazbek was twice nominated for Best Score. His score for The Full Monty won him the Drama Desk award for Best Music.

Tom Kuntz directed the truth® television ads. His career spans both advertising and music television, having received awards for his work for well-known companies like Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Virgin Mobile. His music video for The Avalanches was awarded Video of the Year at the CADs, the United Kingdom’s premiere video award show, while one of his videos for the band Electric Six was named the 4th best video of all-time by Q Magazine

Web and Social Networking

The television spots will be supported by a new Web site design and social networking profiles. The truth.com Web site will feature applications that allow teens to interact with each other and share information related to tobacco and truth®. For the first time, the site will also feature sound effects – from guitar riffs and guitar chords, to game-related “dings, beeps and bongs.”

Similar applications will be used on MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Hi-5 and Xanga. Features will include:

  • Log Blog – a messaging system enabling teens to send each other virtual messages that appear to be written in poop. This tactic is used to draw attention to the fact that the ammonia found in feces is also a key ingredient in cigarettes.
  • Games like “Key-tar Slayer” – a game that encourages users to play/jam out to the music from the truth® television ads with nothing but their keyboards. A leader board keeps track of those who excel at the game. Previously released truth® games that were popular with teens will also be available on the site.
  • “The Useful Cigarette” – a feature where visitors can learn how the ingredients found in cigarettes and cigarette smoke can also be found in such common household products as toilet bowl cleaner and nail polish remover, along with rocket fuel.
  • Polls – tongue-in-cheek interactive polls related to facts about tobacco.
  • Downloads – Posters, computer desktops kits, desktop wallpaper and buddy icons.
  • Embedded video of Sunny Side ads.

Animation Advertisements

The “Sunny Side of truth®” campaign marks the first time truth® has incorporated animation into its television advertisements. Curious Pictures in New York worked with truth® to create the unique campaign. Curious Pictures is a diversified design and entertainment company producing live-action, special effects, graphics, comedy and animation of all types. Some recent TV shows include Sheep in the Big City and Codename: Kids Next Door, for Cartoon Network, Little Einsteins on Disney, and Hey Joel for VH 1.

Anti-Smoking in the Cinema

“Sunny Side of truth®” will be seen in 2,065 Screenvision theaters across the country. All told, the campaign will be run on nearly 10,000 screens in all 50 states. Screenvision encompasses some the nation’s largest theater chains, including AMC, Hollywood Theaters and Cinema Productions. The campaign will run through the month of April and then again in September.

The “Sunny Side of truth®” campaign was created by the American Legacy Foundation and its partners, Arnold Worldwide of Boston and Crispin Porter + Bogusky of Miami.

Background on the truth® Campaign

truth®, launched in February 2000, is the largest national youth smoking prevention campaign and the only national campaign not directed by the tobacco industry. The campaign exposes the tactics of the tobacco industry, the truth about addiction, and the health effects and social consequences of smoking. truth®, allows teens to make informed choices about tobacco use by giving them the facts about the industry and its products. The campaign was created by the American Legacy Foundation, which was founded as a result of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between the tobacco industry, 46 states and five U.S. territories. Payments to the American Legacy Foundation are made on behalf of the settling states.

In February 2005 the American Legacy Foundation released the results of an evaluation of the national truth® campaign that was published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study found that 22 percent of the overall decline in youth smoking during the first two years of the campaign (2000-2002) is directly attributable to truth®. This equates to 300,000 fewer youth smokers in 2002 as a result of the campaign.

The American Legacy Foundation, which provides strategic direction and funding for the truth® campaign, received in 2003 what is likely its final payment to the National Public Education Fund established by the Master Settlement Agreement. Despite its success, the truth® campaign now faces an unprecedented funding challenge.

Source: Black PR Wire Release