The global tobacco industry has long put profits before public health. Now China National Tobacco Corporation has taken this cynical formula to a new level: It appears to be the world's 30th largest company by sales, with profits that may rival those of the giant retailer Wal-Mart and the international financial conglomerate HSBC.
Thousands of young people at more than 1,100 events around the country – and even overseas – are taking action against tobacco today, the 17th annual Kick Butts Day.
In all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. military bases at home and abroad, youth have planned creative, high-impact activities to promote proven solutions to tobacco use.
Smoking among American youth is a “pediatric epidemic” that isn’t occurring by accident: It’s directly caused by tobacco industry marketing and promotion that entices teenagers to start smoking and encourages their progression to becoming regular smokers.
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Surgeon General's report released today makes two things perfectly clear: The tobacco industry's marketing is still addicting America's kids, and elected officials – especially in the states — need to do more to protect our children from the scourge of tobacco.
Big tobacco companies already have coughed up nearly $15 million to try to kill a California ballot initiative that would boost the state's cigarette tax by $1 to fund cancer research and tobacco-prevention programs.
"Shame on them," says Dr. Richard Gray, president of the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate. "But we aren’t surprised — they will always put their profits before the health of millions of Californians."
WASHINGTON, DC — Tobacco companies have enlisted convenience stores as their most important partners in marketing tobacco products and fighting policies that reduce tobacco use, thereby enticing kids to use tobacco and harming the nation’s health, according to a report released today by leading public health organizations.
Apple, grape, peach, strawberry, cherry, orange. "It's like Starbursts" says Roberta Hurtado, 17, of Orlando, Florida.
But the flavored products that have Florida communities up in arms aren't candy. They're tobacco products including little cigars, chewing tobacco and newer smokeless products shaped in pellets, sticks and other easily concealed forms. In addition to their sweet flavors, these products are often sold in brightly colored packages that are attractive to kids.
The Marlboro Man has galloped into trouble in Pakistan.
A Pakistani judge has issued an arrest warrant for the head of marketing for Philip Morris Pakistan Ltd., for the company’s blatant violation of laws that tightly restrict tobacco advertisements. Despite the advertising limits, Philip Morris purchased – and magazines published – full-page, color ads for Marlboro cigarettes in many of Pakistan’s leading magazines throughout November and December.
WASHINGTON, DC — As the United States and other countries negotiate a trade agreement that could impact efforts to reduce tobacco use worldwide, Philip Morris International is trying to buy access and influence by sponsoring an exclusive corporate reception Friday in Washington, DC, that will be attended by top trade and other officials from the countries involved.
From Idaho comes the latest evidence that the tobacco industry will go to great lengths — and spare no expense — to protect its profits and defeat measures proven to keep kids from smoking.
According to a report in the Idaho Falls Post Register, the Altria Group, the nation’s largest tobacco company and parent of Philip Morris USA, spent more money lobbying Idaho officials last year than any other group. Altria spent $165,076 lobbying in the state in 2011 — it’s the only group to spend more than $100,000, and its total is 82 percent more than the next biggest spender.
Ready to take on Big Tobacco, California health advocates have launched a blockbuster campaign for a ballot measure to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1 a pack and use the money to fund programs to prevent tobacco use and boost cancer research.
The effort to pass Proposition 29, a ballot initiative to be put to voters in June, brought public officials, health advocates, cancer survivors, students – and mattresses bearing the slogan “Let’s See Who’s In Bed with Big Tobacco” – to kickoff events in cities and towns all up and down the Golden State.
States around the country are getting wise to the tobacco industry's promotion of products such as sweet-flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco as a way to hook kids and offset the decline in cigarette smoking: Increasingly, governors and lawmakers are proposing higher taxes on "other tobacco products" that too often have been left out when cigarette taxes are hiked.
Brightly colored packages for products labeled "fresh," "wintergreen" and "java" just aren't what they seem, youth tobacco-control advocate Judy Hou says.
"They're these little packages that you can stick in your pocket," says Hou. "They look like Tic Tacs."
In fact, they're dissolvable tobacco products, and the subject of Food and Drug Administration hearings this week on whether these new smokeless products and the marketing used to promote them appeal to kids and pose a public health threat.
South Korea’s leading cigarette manufacturer, KT&G, has launched a new line of super-slim cigarettes and is directly targeting women around the globe in a marketing campaign that promotes the brand as smart and sophisticated.
"Love Smart" declares a Jakarta billboard for Esse, which pictures a slim woman in a sleek blue dress.
Senegal’s health officials are outraged at a sudden price cut of nearly 40 percent in Philip Morris International’s top-selling Marlboro brand, saying that the deep discount puts profits over health.
The global tobacco giant stunned Senegal, which is already struggling with soaring adult and youth smoking rates, when it announced the price cut last month. AFP reports that officials and the public are alarmed.
Tonight's Orange Bowl game in Miami will kick off without the cloud of a tobacco sponsorship hanging over it: Bowl officials cancelled a planned three-year sponsorship by Camacho Cigars after public health groups, three U.S. senators and thousands of activists protested that the sponsorship would have helped market tobacco products to young fans.
WASHINGTON, DC — The Orange Bowl Committee has done the right thing for the nation’s kids and health by canceling a planned three-year sponsorship by Camacho Cigars.
Ten national public health and medical groups have called on the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA to cancel a cigar company sponsorship of the marquee college football game to prevent tobacco marketing at one of the nation’s premier sporting events.
Davidoff of Geneva, parent company of Camacho Cigars, last week announced that it has signed a three-year deal making Camacho Cigars a corporate sponsor of the Orange Bowl Festival, which includes the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Discover Orange Bowls, the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game and related fan events. The 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game will draw particularly intense fan interest and media attention.
WASHINGTON, DC — Major public health groups are calling on the Orange Bowl Committee and the NCAA to cancel a cigar company sponsorship of the marquee college football game, saying that promoting tobacco at sporting events entices teenagers and young men, and puts them at risk of developing a deadly addiction.
WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Justice today announced a proposed agreement (consent order) with several tobacco companies that finalizes requirements for the companies to continue disclosing internal industry documents, as ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler in her 2006 judgment that the major tobacco companies have violated civil racketeering laws and engaged in a decades-long scheme to defraud the American people.
The tobacco industry has maneuvered around marketing restrictions aimed at protecting youth and found yet another way to hook kids when they're young: Flavored "little cigars" that are so cheap kids can easily afford them, and so sweet with kid-friendly flavors that some young smokers believe they're less addictive than cigarettes.
Washington, DC (November 17, 2011) — Maryland health officials warned today of a growing threat to youth from the marketing of flavored little cigars, noting that cigar smoking among Maryland youth is climbing even as cigarette smoking has declined.
A California-based company is promoting flavored cigars called "Hoodwraps" to inner-city youth, using names such as "Da Bomb Blueberry" and "Swag Berry," and even handing out free samples in downtown Indianapolis.
Trendsettah USA is marketing the cigars with "street teams" — inner-city youth recruited to give out the samples. The slogan for Hoodwraps: "So Hood. So Good." The aggressive promotion has angered local tobacco-control advocates, who note that urban youth in Indiana are more likely to begin smoking at an earlier age than the national average.
World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan has accused the tobacco industry of dirty tricks and unethical behavior in its latest efforts to challenge tobacco-control laws and policies around the world.