Big Surprise: Tobacco Industry's Anti-Smoking Ads Don't Work
> 11/3/2006 3:21:14 PM

In a painfully obvious "revelation" that only further confirms the deadly negligence of the tobacco industry, a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports that, rather than discouraging kids from smoking, the so-called "anti-smoking" ad campaigns produced by the legally liable Philip Morris company do not curb smoking habits and may actually increase the likelihood of young viewers lighting up that first cigarette.

The study, measuring the responses of 100,000 American teenagers to the televised ads in question, concluded that the ads only seem interested in convincing teens that tobacco companies are not being deceptive about the damage caused by smoking. Teens who viewed the ads were more likely to believe that the companies involved were being honest about the threats their products pose and that they should not be forced out of business in the future. Seems like a great publicity campaign. An official director of Philip Morris youth prevention campaigns even admitted during the famed tobacco trials that the purpose of these ads was only to delay the age at which kids start smoking to 18. The company also produces ads aimed at adults, and while they claim that many parents warn their children about tobacco after watching the ads, these conversations (naturally) only increase the chances that their kids will start smoking.

This frightening conclusion is hardly new. In a 2002 press release, The American Legacy Foundation, which was founded with some of the money given up by the tobacco industry after the multiple lawsuits of the 90's and became best known for their Truthout anti-smoking campaign, referred to a previous AJPH study while demanding that Philip Morris withdraw their ads and stop trying to undermine and remove the effective Truth TV spots.

Anyone doubting that the tobacco industry insidiously targets teens as potential life-long customers need only read this 1977 statement from a marketing agent at Imperial Tobacco:

"Of course, one of the very things that are attractive is the mere fact that cigarettes are fobidden fruit...When the adolescent is looking for something that at the same time makes them feel different and also makes them feel that they are old enough to ignore this weight of authority so as to feel that they have made their own choice, what better could be found than a cigarette? It is not just a smoke. It is a statement, a naughty adventure, a milestone episode."

M.Cass Wheeler, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association, words the only appropriate response very bluntly:

"The tobacco industry is addicted to lying and in truth wants our kids to become addicted to tobacco. If they were serious about reducing smoking rates, they would stop spending $15 billion a year to promote their deadly products."

Don't count on it.


Anyone who has ever seen an advertisment attempting to actually sell a product knows exactly what these bland cigarette ads are all about. No shocks here.
Posted by: Mark 11/8/2006 12:15:38 PM

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