WASHINGTON, DC – In troubling news for our nation’s kids and health, the Federal Trade Commission’s latest reports on tobacco marketing show that cigarette marketing expenditures increased by nearly 10 percent, to $9.17 billion, in 2012. Adding $435.7 million in smokeless tobacco marketing, the tobacco companies spent a total of $9.6 billion to market cigarettes and smokeless tobacco – that’s $26 million each day and more than $1 million every hour. The cigarette marketing increase was driven by a sharp rise in spending on price discounts, which now account for 85 percent of all cigarette marketing.
WASHINGTON, DC – A new study published today finds that Internet vendors of electronic cigarettes do little to prevent youth from purchasing their products and teens can easily buy e-cigarettes online despite claims that online vendors verify customer age. The study, conducted in North Carolina, found that only five out of 98 attempts by teens to buy e-cigarettes online were blocked by online vendors’ attempts to verify customer age.
The big tobacco companies proclaim loudly and often that they have changed and are now responsible corporate citizens.
But it took just 18 minutes for political satirist John Oliver to rip those claims to shreds and show how Philip Morris International and other tobacco companies target kids around the world and bully countries that try to save lives.
Tobacco companies claim they don’t market their products to kids, but their actions continue to show otherwise.
The latest example: Sports Illustrated’s just-published 2015 swimsuit issue, which contains an astounding seven ads for tobacco products. Amid the photos of curvaceous models in barely-there bikinis, there are two ads for cigarette brands (Natural American Spirit and Newport), three ads for the leading smokeless tobacco brands (Grizzly, Skoal and Copenhagen) and two ads for electronic cigarettes (MarkTen and blu).
WASHINGTON, DC – Poisoning incidents involving electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine jumped by 156 percent from 2013 to 2014 and have increased more than 14 fold since 2011, new data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers shows. Calls to poison control centers involving exposures to e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine increased to 3,957 in 2014 from 1,543 in 2013 and 271 in 2011 (according to the AAPCC, the preliminary 2014 data will be updated as poison centers update their reports).
For millions of fans of all ages, October means the excitement of the baseball playoffs and World Series.
For tobacco companies, it means another opportunity to target kids by associating smokeless tobacco with baseball and other sports.
This month’s issues of the two leading sports magazines, Sports Illustrated and ESPN, have included huge, two-page advertising spreads for Grizzly, which is by far the most popular smokeless tobacco brand among youth ages 12-17. Grizzly is made by American Snuff Company, a subsidiary of tobacco giant Reynolds American.
WASHINGTON, DC – By announcing restrictions on smoking in its facilities, Reynolds American seems to finally be admitting that secondhand smoke harms health after publicly denying it for decades. However, by allowing designated smoking areas, the company’s new policy is severely flawed and fails to provide effective protection from secondhand smoke and the lung cancer and heart disease it causes. As the U.S. Surgeon General and other public health authorities have found, only comprehensive smoke-free policies provide effective protection from secondhand smoke. Designated smoking areas fail to do so, as secondhand smoke does not stay in such areas.
Across the United States, poison control centers continue to report soaring numbers of accidental poisonings related to the nicotine liquid used in electronic cigarettes.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) reports that, through August 31, there have been 2,724 calls so far this year involving exposures to e-cigarette devices and liquid nicotine. That is up from 1,542 in 2013, 460 in 2012 and 271 in 2011.
These reports have spurred a growing call by public health organizations and members of Congress to require child-resistant packaging of nicotine liquid products.
Philip Morris International's “Be Marlboro” campaign is coming under fire again for targeting youth. This time, the consumer protection agency from the Brazilian state of São Paulo has fined Philip Morris over $480,000.
The agency acted after a formal complaint was filed against Philip Morris by tobacco control activists who documented how its marketing tactics were aimed at youth. Paula Johns, Executive Director of the Brazilian advocacy organization ACT, calls the campaign "cynical", noting that “independence and autonomy are associated with a product that actually makes the person dependent."
WASHINGTON, DC – A new government study published today shows that 17.4 million Americans – 7.3 percent of U.S. adults – smoke cigars every day, some days or rarely. This study shows that cigar smoking is a serious public health problem that must be addressed through strategies such as Food and Drug Administration regulation of all cigars and taxation of cigar products at the same rate as cigarettes.
Despite international media criticism and widespread calls from public health groups and government officials to end its "Be Marlboro" marketing campaign, Philip Morris International is doubling down and expanding its youth-oriented campaign around the globe.
A March 2014 report by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups exposed how the campaign uses themes and images sure to appeal to youth. With the slogan "Don’t be a Maybe. Be Marlboro," the ads feature images of attractive young people falling in love, playing music, partying, and taking risks.
WASHINGTON, DC — The proposed merger of the Reynolds American and Lorillard tobacco companies raises important questions that go beyond antitrust. It raises important public health issues as well because it would bring together two tobacco giants with a long history of marketing to kids and deceiving the public about the deadly consequences of their products. These companies sell two of the three most popular cigarette brands among U.S. youth (Lorillard's Newport and Reynolds' Camel) and the most popular smokeless tobacco brand among youth (Grizzly, made by Reynolds' American Snuff Company subsidiary).
WASHINGTON, DC – Design changes and chemical additives introduced by tobacco companies in recent decades have made cigarettes more addictive, more attractive to kids and even more deadly, according to a report issued today by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The report, titled Designed for Addiction, details how tobacco companies purposely design cigarettes to make tobacco smoke smoother, less harsh and more appealing to new users, especially kids, and to create and sustain addiction to nicotine. Tobacco companies have made these changes without regard for the health impact and actually have increased smokers’ risk of developing lung cancer.
A new documentary from the BBC calls out Philip Morris International for its global marketing campaign promoting Marlboro cigarettes that has been found to target youth. The BBC report finds the "Be Marlboro" ad campaign is "aimed unashamedly at young people."
A report released in March by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and other public health groups exposed how the "Be Marlboro" ads uses themes and images sure to appeal to youth. The ads have spread to more than 50 countries despite being banned by a German court for targeting teens.
The CDC's 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, released on Thursday, had both good news and bad news. The good news: a big decline in cigarette smoking among high school students from 18.1 percent in 2011 to 15.7 percent in 2013.
The bad news: essentially no change in cigar smoking or smokeless tobacco use. In fact, high school boys now smoke cigars at the same rate as cigarettes (16.5 percent for cigars and 16.4 percent for cigarettes). Nearly a quarter of 12th grade boys (23 percent) smoke cigars, compared to 19.6 percent who smoke cigarettes. (Note: We’ll have more about smokeless tobacco in a later blog post.)
“Kids may be particularly vulnerable to trying e-cigarettes due to an abundance of fun flavors such as cherry, vanilla, pina-colada and berry.”
If that quote sounds like something a public health organization said (and many of us have expressed such concerns), think again. This particular quote is from the so-called “youth smoking prevention” web site of tobacco giant Lorillard, manufacturer of blu eCigs, the best-selling e-cigarette brand.
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler on Monday issued a final order detailing how major U.S. cigarette manufacturers must publish “corrective statements” and finally tell the American people the truth about their deadly and addictive products. Judge Kessler first ordered the corrective statements in 2006 when she found the cigarette companies guilty of violating civil racketeering laws and lying to the public about the dangers of smoking and their marketing to children.
WASHINGTON, DC – Youth exposure to television ads for electronic cigarettes increased by 256 percent from 2011 to 2013, exposing 24 million U.S. kids to these ads, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics. The researchers predicted that “if current trends in e-cigarette television advertising continue, awareness and use of e-cigarettes are likely to increase among youth and young adults.”
Cigarettes and electronic cigarettes aren’t the only tobacco products being heavily advertised in magazines with large youth readerships.
So are smokeless tobacco products, especially now that the Skoal brand is again advertising in magazines for the first time since February 2009, according to the Trinkets & Trash website, which tracks tobacco advertising.
Tobacco companies claim they have smokers' interests at heart when they oppose tobacco tax increases. But they are all too willing to exploit smokers for their own financial gains, as shown by a USA TODAY story this week.
USA TODAY reviewed companies in the Standard and Poor's 500 and found that three tobacco giants — Philip Morris International, Altria and Lorillard — are among the top 10 with the biggest profit margins, a measure of how much companies keep of every dollar in revenue after paying expenses. The three tobacco companies all have profit margins of over 40 percent.
Manufacturers of electronic cigarettes keep saying they don’t market to kids. They claim their target audience is current smokers. So how, exactly, does a video called “How to Twerk: A helpful how-to for would-be booty-shakers” fit into that strategy?
The latest addition to blu e-cigarettes’ YouTube page – and to their website – features entertainer Big Freedia teaching cheering young adults how to shake their stuff. The twerking dance craze became nationally notorious thanks to Miley Cyrus’ performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
WASHINGTON, DC – A startling report issued today by Human Rights Watch details yet another way in which the tobacco industry exploits and harms children: the use of child labor on tobacco farms in the United States.
Youth advocates sent a loud and clear message to Philip Morris International this week: We won’t be Marlboro.
Protesting outside Philip Morris’ annual shareholders’ meeting in New York City on Wednesday, the youth called on the tobacco giant to stop targeting kids and immediately end its “Be Marlboro” campaign that is running in more than 50 countries.
Inside the meeting, health advocates presented Philip Morris with an open letter demanding an end to this ad campaign for best-selling Marlboro cigarettes. It was signed by over 250 civil society organizations and representatives of more than 25 governments.
WASHINGTON, DC – Tobacco companies are using the same flavor chemicals in their sweet-flavored tobacco products, including cigars of various sizes and smokeless tobacco, that are used in popular candy and drink products such as LifeSavers, Jolly Ranchers and Kool-Aid, according to research published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers found that several of the tobacco products contained flavor chemicals at much higher concentrations than in the non-tobacco products.<
Washington, D.C. – Three years after first announcing plans to do so, the Food and Drug Administration today has finally issued a proposed rule to begin regulating electronic cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products not currently under its jurisdiction.
This action is long overdue. It is a critical step for public health that the FDA has acted to extend its jurisdiction over tobacco products not already subject to its authority and proposed a regulatory framework for these products, including a prohibition on sales to kids, that will enable the FDA to take strong action in the future to protect the nation’s health. It is inexcusable that it has taken the FDA and the Administration so long to act. This delay has had serious public health consequences as these unregulated tobacco products have been marketed using tactics and sweet flavors that appeal to kids, and their use has skyrocketed.