Tobacco Companies Are Addicted To Underage Smoking

Participants are required to submit assignments throughout the Florida Statewide Tobacco Prevention online course, and this year we have been fortunate to have some outstanding submissions.  Tracy N. from Broward County recently submitted her assignment for Media and Marketing, and we would love to share it with you.

Tobacco Companies Are Addicted To Underage Smoking

There are many ways to describe a child. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of childrenthe Child defines child as “a human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier. Research has proven that children go through stages of social development and are not able to make serious decisions before the age of 18. Generally, children have fewer rights than adults and a lower maturity level. Tobacco companies have done their research and use these facts to lure children into the tobacco market.

It is a proven fact that the tobacco industry spends approximately $34 million dollars a day to advertise their product. Tobacco is one of the most heavily marketed products. To purchase tobacco products you have to be an adult (at least 18 years of age), however, tobacco advertising is not solely directed toward the adult consumer. Why you ask? Because of the addictive ingredients in tobacco, tobacco marketing targets youth who are immature and impressionable. Tobacco companies have learned that luring children to use tobacco products at an early age most likely guarantees a long term adult consumer.

Tobacco companies place ads in store locations that are more tobacco_adsprone to be seen by children. For example, the next time you walk into a convenient store, notice the eye level of tobacco advertisements on the entry doors. The average adult male is 5 feet 9 inches and the average adult female is 5 feet 4 inches. Why then would tobacco companies place advertisements at or below three feet? According to Tobacco Company Marketing there are many more marketing efforts directly aimed to reach kids.

To begin with, many companies have internal documents revealed in lawsuits that show tobacco companies have targeted children as young as 13 with the hope that this age group will develop unbreakable habits and become future consumers. Excerpts of quotes by some of the large tobacco companies report the following: Phillip Morris – “Todays teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer…” RJ Reynolds – “Evidence is now available to indicate that the 14-18 year old group is an increasing segment of the smoking population.” and Lorillard Tobacco – “The base of our business is the high school student.”

Secondly, tobacco companies advertise near schools and playgrounds. The advertisements are large and highly visible from outside the store. It has been reported that tobacco companies use themes and messages that resonate with youth. Smoking advertisements often suggest popularity, attractiveness and risk taking.  All are behaviors that target children ages 13-17. A 2002 survey in a California community found that stores where adolescents shop have three times more cigarette advertisements compared to other stores in the community.

Lastly, a Sun-Sentinel article reported fruit flavored tobaccoWhere does it end products for sale behind the counter at convenience stores are used to target kids. It is clearly arguable that candy flavors and candy-like packaging is meant to attract children not adults. Children connect candy with enjoyable flavors and something they get as a reward. Tobacco companies create flavors that children will like, hoping they will become addicted at an earlier age. By the time they reach the age of adulthood, the addiction will be more important than the flavor.

In conclusion, it has been proven that ninety percent of all regular smokers began smoking at or before the age of 18. If kids stopped smoking, the tobacco companies would lose their major market and sales would plummet. It’s no wonder tobacco companies are addicted to underage smoking.

 

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American Diabetes Association ALERT! Day

Alert_dayIf you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, it means your body does not use insulin properly.  Your doctor may treat the condition with oral medications and insulin and discuss lifestyle changes, such as changes to your diet and exercise level.  You may also need to monitor your glucose levels by checking your blood several times a day. If you are a smoker or use smokeless tobacco products, it’s time to ditch your habit for your health, because using these products will make it difficult for getting your blood glucose numbers under control.

American cigarettes use two types of tobacco.  One type of tobacco, Virginia tobacco, is high in sugars, while the cured Burley leaf tobacco loses a significant portion of its sugar through the curing process.  Adding sugar to the tobacco once it reaches the factory enhances the flavor and the smoke of the cigarette.  One example, Virginia Slims by Philip Morris USA, lists the ingredients for this product and sugar is the third ingredient in every style of this cigarette.  The same can be said for Marlboro and Parliament cigarettes.  Here is Philip Morris’ entire list so you can see for yourself the amount of sugar in their cigarette tobacco.

A 2002 Conference on Smokeless Tobacco in Sweden, provided product information on various forms of smokeless tobacco, many of which are sold in the U.S.   Most of these tobaccos are flavored and sweetened with licorice, but their sugar contents are high.  One type of tobacco, loose leaf chew, was shown to have an average sugar content of approximately 35%.  Moist plug was shown to have about 24%.

One doctor stated the range of sugar for “pouch tobacco tested was between 24% and 65% and for plug tobaccos 13% to 50%.”  In addition to the sugar causing problems with your blood glucose levels, since this form of tobacco is held in the mouth against teeth and gums, it can cause cavities, tooth loss, receding gums, and mouth sores.

Take a moment to take the Diabetes Risk Test by clicking the blue highlighted words.  If you noticed changes to your health or score 5 or higher on the test, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss what you can do to get back on the healthy track of life.

Click HERE for the ALERT! Day Fact Sheet for more information.

 

 

 

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Kick Butts Day 2015

kick_butts_dayTobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  But while there have been great strides in the fight against tobacco, sadly “every day, more than 3,000 kids under 18 try smoking for the first time and 700 kids become new regular, daily smokers.”  After all, someone has to replace the more than 480,000 people die every year from using this product.  For 20 years students have been kicking butts and making a statement to Big Tobacco that they will not be their target.  While March 18, 2015 has been designated as the official Kick Butts Day, every day is a good day to fight against tobacco.

Kick Butts Day started in 1996 and since then over 20,000 events have been organized by teachers, youth and health advocates across the U.S. “to educate their schools and communities, and to advocate for policies to prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke.”

Kick_butts_buttonIn the U.S. 480,000 people die every year from tobacco related illness, and the tobacco industry has to seek “replacement smokers” to fill their spots.  The tobacco industry knows that about 90% of adult smokers started by the time they were 18.  They spend vast amounts of money, about $8.8 billion every year, or $1 million every hour, to market their products by using the following strategies: promoting and discounting products in stores; eye-catching ads in magazines with large youth readerships; marketing flavored tobacco products such as cigars, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes; and re-glamorizing tobacco use through e-cigarettes.

Stand up to tobacco and tell them that you are #NotAReplacment, and send a message to this billion dollar industry that you can’t be bought.  Take action today and click on the link above to send your message to Big Tobacco.

Click HERE to read more about Kick Butts Day and how you can take action.
Click HERE to read more about how tobacco seeks out teen replacements.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Poison Prevention Week

poisonThe week of March 15-21 is National Poison Prevention Week 2015 and what better time to learn how to protect your family and make your home a safer place to live.

Most people associate poisons with household cleaning supplies or chemicals in the garage or used in yard work, but it is so much more than that.  In the past several years, electronic cigarettes have become more popular and calls to poison control centers have dramatically increased.  In 2012, that number of calls was fewer than 100 cases. In 2014 the number skyrocketed to 4,000.

Liquid nicotine used in the devices is very toxic and children coming in contact with the liquid, either by getting it on their skin or consuming it, have become very ill requiring ER visits.  In the past year one toddler has died after consuming the liquid.  Adults can also suffer skin irritations, become poisoned or die from the liquid if consumed.

At this time, most liquid nicotine is sold in bottles without child-resistant caps and the sweet flavors and brightly colored containers draw the interest and curiosity of young children.  Many states are in the process of requiring liquid nicotine be sold in child-proof packaging. But whether the liquid nicotine is in a child-proof container or not, always keep this product out of the reach of children.  If they don’t see you using the product, they may not develop an interest in it.  Always dispose of these materials in a manner in which young children can not retrieve it.

While electronic cigarettes pose a serious poisoning risk, traditional tobacco cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are also dangerous if ingested.  Look around your neighborhood, a park or the beach and you can see discarded butts littering public areas.  Although the bitter taste may stop a child from totally ingesting the butt, the filter can pose a choking hazard, and the nicotine toxins trapped in the filter can seriously sicken a young child or an animal.  A young child may think putting smokeless tobacco in their is normal, especially after watching a family member, but the nicotine levels in smokeless products are high and could poison a child.  Leaving a spit can or bottle in easy access of a child can also pose a poisoning situation.

Accidents do happen, no matter how careful you may be, so keep the toll-free Poison Help Line number (800-222-1222) close to your phone or programmed into your mobile device in case of an emergency.  Read “50+ Poisoning Prevention Tips” for more information to help safeguard your family.

 

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Reveal the Truth, Part 3

Our last two blogs featured sections of the Reveal the Truth infograph on electronic cigarettes versus traditional cigarettes.  This blog features the third and final portion of the graphic and deals with the Additional Benefits of E-Cigarettes (What’s More!!)

Reveal_the_truth_7

The graphic claims e-cigarettes are affordable which has some truth as the disposal models are equivalent in price to a pack of traditional cigarettes.  Most disposals deliver about 400 puffs, and depending how you puff, it could be the equivalent of 1 or 2 packs of cigarettes.  Some smokers take a few puffs on a cigarette before throwing it away, essentially wasting half a cigarette or more.  With an electronic cigarette, you can take a couple of puffs and put it in a pocket or purse to use again.  The more expensive, refillable models tend to be more cost-effective.  You don’t need to purchase lighters as the devices are charged by pulling them into an electrical outlet, but you do need to remember to charge them.

The second statement says it is eco-friendly. Perhaps with the refillable models, but not so with the disposal models which can’t be taken apart.  The entire disposable device, including a battery and any liquid nicotine still in the device, is thrown away.  If you have ever participated in a beach clean up, the disposal e-cigarettes and cartridges are found scattered everywhere.  So much for being eco-friendly.

In the second statement they mention the “battery can be used for longer by replacing the cartridge or filling the e-cigarette juice.”  Some models allow you to change out the cartridge for a new, pre-filled cartridge, but you still need to dispose of a cartridge with toxic nicotine still in it. The larger e-cigarette models need to be refilled with liquid nicotine, which if spilled, is a hazard itself.  Could that possibly constitute an EPA hazard substance? You would still need to dispose of the refill bottles which could be deadly if a young child comes in contact and puts it in their mouth.

That second statement also mentions the vapor is water mist which is a selling point of the devices; however, most devices do not list water as an ingredient in the device.  So is it “water” mist or rather aerosol mist that is emitted?  They also mention it “doesn’t leave any mark in the atmosphere,” but studies are insufficient to “determine whether the levels of exhaled vapor are safe to involuntarily exposed bystanders.”  If you can smell the scent from the device, you would think you are also breathing in whatever chemical particles are being emitted when exhaled.

Since it operates on a battery, they say it prevents fire burning damage and holes in clothes.  But what about all the devices that have exploded, knocking out teeth, burning bodies, and causing fire damage to buildings?  Not every device may be a fire hazard, but would the devices sell if they had a warning that stated “May Explode Without Warning?”  Holes in clothes are the least of your worries while using an e-cigarette device.

Reveal_the_Truth9Another one of the most important selling features, next to “100% safe” and “water vapor,” is that you can use the devices anyplace you want.  Not so fast.  If there are no smoking bans in place, many establishments also ban e-cigarette use, such as airplanes, restaurants and bars, and places of business.  Hospitals also ban them due to the fire hazard when oxygen is being used.  One patient caught fire at a hospital when she used an e-cigarette while receiving oxygen therapy.  You may not have as much “freedom to smoke” as you think.

The final statement says you have the ability to control nicotine consumption and can try different variations of nicotine refills.  If you had the ability to control your nicotine consumption, you probably wouldn’t need a device that provides nicotine on demand. The company that sponsored this infograph has different nicotine strength devices, from 0 mg to as high as 20 mg and offer disposables, rechargables and shisha-type devices.  They also offer several flavors.  If you are trying to quit using products with nicotine, using the device with lesser amounts of nicotine in order to cut back on nicotine would make sense.  But some users have said they vaped more because they could use the devices anywhere thus becoming more addicted to nicotine because of the never ending ability to use it.

The purpose of these blogs on “Reveal the Truth” was to point out that the “factual” information on e-cigarettes is biased towards getting customers to use the electronic nicotine delivery devices. They want to remove your concern and worry by using terms like “100% safe,” “eco-friendly,” and “no chemicals.”  They don’t provide links to any websites, and spelling and grammar errors are obvious.  The information they provide is the same information you would hear if you walked into a vapor store.  They fail to mention no long-term studies on the health of users are available since they have not been on the market long enough.  It is up to the consumer to look up the information. Be prudent, ask questions of unbiased people, be an informed consumer.

The entire infograph is above on the left and was found HERE

 

 

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Reveal the Truth, Part 2

cOur last blog featured the first part of the infographic “Reveal the Truth” that compared electronic cigarettes with traditional tobacco cigarettes. It should be noted the graphic was put together by XEO, an electronic cigarette company.  This second part of the graphic deals with what they call “quick facts.”  A statement from the American Association of Public Health Physicians included in the graphic is shown down below.

Reveal_the_truth_6

Yes, the graphic is correct about tobacco cigarette smoking – it kills people, no one will argue that fact.  The graphic above lists approximately 443,000 deaths per year, however, the CDC has put that number at 480,000 annually.  New data states the number may be higher still.  The statement does not say in the U.S. only, so worldwide tobacco causes more than 5 million deaths per year.  The same CDC document linked above listed the number of deaths from exposure to secondhand smoke at nearly 42,000.

On the electronic cigarette side of the graphic it states that studies proved e-cigarettes are “100% safe” but there is no documentation to back up this statement.  It also states that it is a “better alternative to cigarette smoking.”  While it is true electronic cigarettes do not contain the thousands of chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes, which would make it better than tobacco smoking, to say e-cigs are 100% safe is false. Even the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association says “any substance containing nicotine is not 100% safe.”  The graphic also states it has the ability to regular the smoking habit, but does not state how.

The graphic states “no harmful chemicals,” yet documentation is emerging identifying the chemicals found in e-cigarettes.  A “Chemical Evaluation of Electronic Cigarettes,” from The BMJ (British Medical Journal) from 2014 using literature searches found ingredients and “environmental emissions vary considerably” between devices, as do levels of compounds.  Substances such as nicotine, aldehydes, tobacco-specific nitrosamines, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds were found.   Nicotine itself is a toxic compound and can be lethal if ingested.  The “Harmful Chemicals in Electronic Cigarettes” lists 42 chemicals identified in e-cigarettes, some of those are found in side stream smoke, and/or mainstream smoke.  Ten of the chemicals found are on California’s Proposition 65 and are known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.

True, e-cigarettes produce no tar or ash and you don’t need a lighter to use them.  If you use a rechargeable model, you do need to keep it charged if you want to vape.  But be careful as there have been reports of the charger or device exploding, even while using it. Refillable devices need liquid nicotine, and the concentrated nicotine is highly toxic and can cause irritation to the skin.  Most e-liquid bottles are not yet child-proof and this has proven deadly to one young child, and sent hundreds of others to the emergency room with nicotine poisoning.  If something is that deadly, it is not 100% safe.

The graphic states that “higher stamina, productivity and efficiency have been seem (sic) among people who switched to E-cigarettes.”  Once again, no links to scientific studies are provided.  E-cigarette users have reported they are able to breath better because they are no longer breathing in tar and other chemicals, but beware.  A study released in January 2015 linked the liquid used in e-cigarettes to a considerably higher risk of respiratory viral infections, whether or not it contained nicotine.  As for productivity, “no smoking” includes no vaping in many places of business.  Since you can’t smoke or vape, you may be more productive and use your time more efficiently.

Reveal_the_truth_5

The infograph also includes a Statement from the American Association of Public Health Physicians and we looked on the web to find this quote published under AAPHP.  We found an “AAPHP Statement re: State Regulation of E-Cigarettes” with the exact quote in what looks like a letter from the quote’s originator, written April 2, 2010 but it was posted on an electronic cigarette company website, not on the AAPHP official website.

The AAPHP site gives options for quitting smoking such as quitting cold turkey, using nicotine replacements, and other medications. They also suggest using smokeless tobacco products to replace cigarettes.  They go on to say “E-cigarettes and dissolvable tobacco products (sticks, strips and orbs) promise even larger reductions in risk, but they are too new on the market for research to have documented such benefits.” AAPHP provides links for their “Principles to Guide AAPHP Tobacco Policy,”  “For Smokers Only” that favors harm reduction by using smokeless products, and an E-Cigarette Forum.

Two statements in their “Principals to Guide” from above says the healthiest option is to never initiate tobacco/nicotine use, and the best option is to quit.  The 70% of smokers who want to quit would probably agree with those statements.

Check back with this blog to read the third and final installment of Reveal the Truth.

Check HERE to see the infographic in its entirety.

 

 

 

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Reveal the Truth, Part 1

A recent info-graphic states it will “Reveal the Truth” between electronic cigarettes versus traditional tobacco cigarettes, but will it really ‘reveal the truth’ or simply provide some smoke and mirrors much like the tobacco industry is famous for already doing?   Please note that this particular graphic comes from XEO, “worlds most powerful e-cigarette.”  The infograph has been broken in to parts to make it easier for you to view.

reveal_the_truth_part_1

The first comparison the graph makes is on the nicotine levels of the two types of cigarettes: tobacco cigarettes have “heavy nicotine” and electronic cigarettes have “controlled dosage as needed” which makes it sound like a medical term.   What does “controlled dose as needed” actually mean?

According to another e-cigarette company that did nicotine calculations between traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes, traditional cigarettes tend to have three levels of nicotine: 6 mg (ultra lights), 12 mg (lights) and 18 mg in regular filter cigarettes. Another website stated a regular pack of cigarettes contains 8-20 milligrams of nicotine depending on the brand.  The e-cigarette company that put together this graph lists nicotine levels as high as 20 mg for full flavor in their disposables, down to 0 mg in some of their shisha products.  The e-cigarette company that did the nicotine calculations also listed levels as high as 36 mg in e-cigarettes, but urged users not to go above 24 mg.  Sounds as if nicotine is a moot point unless you use the 0 mg e-cigarettes.

There is a difference in nicotine delivery between the two types of cigarettes.  A smoker of a traditional cigarette will take about 10 puffs in about a 5 minute time period, some may take fewer, some may smoke for a long time period.  Once the cigarette is smoked down and extinguished, they are finished smoking and are finished taking in nicotine, at least for the time being.  Not so with an electronic cigarette.  Whether the smoker is using a disposable or a rechargeable model electronic cigarette, they can technically continue to puff or vape for as long as they please.  A disposable model can have as many as 400 puffs and a user could go almost all day without stopping.  How safe is it for your lungs to be continually inhaling nicotine vapor?

While it is true that a traditional cigarette has huge amounts of chemicals when smoked, anywhere from 4,000 mentioned above to more than 7,000 as reported by the American Lung Association, is it truthful to say there are “no chemicals” in electronic cigarettes? The liquid nicotine itself is a poisonous chemical and is highly toxic.  At this time manufacturers do not have to disclose what is in their product, so other chemicals in the products are a big question mark.  GASP of Colorado has identified 42 chemicals in electronic cigarettes.  To write a blanket, absolute statement saying there are no chemicals in electronic cigarettes is false.

Traditional cigarettes produce secondhand smoke, but electronic cigarettes produce secondhand vapor, and if you have been around someone who is using one, you can smell the odor.  There are also chemicals in the vapor such as formaldehyde-containing compounds produced when the e-cigarettes are operated at high temperatures.

Tobacco cigarettes are the most littered item in America, according to CigaretteLitter.org, but as the popularity of using disposal e-cigarettes grow, they end up as dangerous litter too.  Traditional cigarettes leach out toxins, e-cigarettes can leach out chemicals from the improperly disposed batteries.  And any nicotine liquid left in the device becomes a chemical hazard and possible deadly to someone who may consume it.

Join us again to see Part 2 of this infograph.

Click here to see the entire infograph.

 

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Another Month and More Tobacco Ads

Remember the old give-aways for cigarettes?  You buy a couple of packs, mail in the proofs of purchase and a couple of dollars, and your favorite cigarette brand would send you a t-shirt so you could provide them with free advertising.  Cigarette brands have moved beyond that old-school mentality and into bigger giveaways and sweepstakes.

Hot_streakTake Marlboro cigarettes, for instance.  They are now “the first brand to have a game app” for your mobile device, according to Trinkets and Trash.  The more you play, the better your chance to win.  If you aren’t addicted to their product, they will addict you in other ways.  A current trend on television has been the cooking shows and contests.  Not to be Desert_Nightoutdone, Marlboro held its own contest inviting participants to send in their BBQ sauce recipes for a chance to have the winning recipe bottled and distributed to other smokers.  The winning entry is called “Desert Night” and those who participated in the Southwest Sizzle BBQ sauce challenge received a bottle of the winning sauce.  When you run out of the sauce, just go to their website for the recipe.  Hook smokers with your product, keep them hooked with giveaways and coupons to make buying a deadly product less painful, at least for the moment.

GeneralNot to be outdone, General smokeless tobacco products also made a pitch for the romantic in you this past Valentine’s Day with their “the best gifts come in dozens” slogan.   Give your girl a dozen roses, get two dozen smokeless pouches for yourself. Yes,Grizzly nothing says romantic like a mouthful of that wonderful smokeless spit when you go to kiss your date.  Grizzly invites you to “link to their website to have a discourse with fellow dippers about the current ‘Tellin’ it like it is’ topic”.  No, it’s not a talk about the dangerous health effects of using smokeless, it’s a discussion about whether a bowl of chili or gumbo will beat the cold. Other discussion topics in February included road racing vs oval track, and your picks for the Super Bowl.  By having smokeless users connect with other users, they are less likely to quit the product.  But you have to admit, Grizzly is “tellin’ it like it is” by posting a large, eye-catching warning at the bottom of their advertisement warning about mouth cancer. Skoal is celebrating its 81st anniversary by reducing prices at the stores in celebration. Let’s hope users are still around to blow out their own candles.

MarkTen e-cigarettes is coming out with a new product with “two times the liquid and battery strength” of their product currently on the market.  And get ready for their new 400_puffsflavors Fusion and Winter Mint.  The MarkTen product has self-contained cartridges with pre-measured liquid so you can just to swap out the old and when you add a new charge kit, you will always have one available for use. Vuse has four new flavors (Crema, Chai, Rich Mint and Mint) being test marketed in Colorado and Utah. These flavors are so new there isn’t any advertising for them yet. Exactly what age group are they marketing to with “crema and chai?”  Blu cigarettes came up with “5 things NOT to do with a blu electronic cigarette,” one of which is “don’t be a jerk/jerkette” and use your e-cigarette in places you can’t smoke a tobacco cigarette (like in the middle of a grocery store).  Blu also had a “Share the Blu Love Giveway” where you could have the chance to win two rechargeable kits.  They also let their customers know that there are 400 puffs in each one of their disposable e-cigs which may impress you, until you do the math and realize it is the equivalent of 2 packs of cigarettes.  If you aren’t a pack a day smoker, having this device in your hand all day could prompt you to draw on the nicotine more, not less, and making quitting your nicotine habit more difficult.  That nice dark color of the product also makes it easy to hide in your child’s school backpack.

As with any advertising, take tobacco advertising with a grain of salt and see it for what it is.  The tobacco industry is out to promote a product you don’t need and may die sooner from using it.

All ads and pictures came from the Trinkets and Trash Surveillance Update – February 2015. 

 

 

 

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They Know All About You

The tobacco industry knows all about you.  Male or female, young or old, what ever race, ethnicity, social group or demographic you belong to, they are trying to figure you out. You are their target, and you might not even smoke…yet.   Take the tobacco industry giant Philip Morris, for example.  They were, and still are, experts at visualizing how to get you to try that first cigarette and what it will take to keep you coming back to their products.

Marlboro2Back in the day, it was easy to get people to smoke.  During World Wars I & II the tobacco industry provided free smokes for the boys fighting “over there” and encouraged those at home to do their part to support them by sending them smokes and buy some for themselves.  Doctors were used in ads because they were trusted members of the community, and if they smoked then cigarettes must be safe.  More women began to pick up the habit as they watched the glamorous Hollywood starlets smoke on screen and in movie magazines. But over time news articles were tying cigarettes to lung cancer. The market share dropped and itMarlboro10 wasn’t as easy to just market your tobacco product to everyone, you had to find a niche. Philip Morris makers of Marlboro, which was originally marketed to women because of the filter, needed a boost to bring sales back up.  When the Marlboro cowboy was introduced, men VS1picked up the brand and sales skyrocketed.  But it seemed to leave women out and Philip Morris needed something to grab that market share. The company introduced Virginia Slims in 1968, a cigarette specifically for women, but sales weren’t as good as they hoped.  In the early 1990s Philip Morris looked into the situation and came up with four categories of the “young adult female smoker” to order to help them understand women’s buying habits and sell more cigarettes.

There was the “90s Traditionalists”: married, into her family and bargain hunting, but able to express her own opinions.  The “Uptown Girls” were on the cutting edge of fashion, like to shop and party, go to bars and “meet hot guys”. There were the “Wallflowers”:  on the outside looking in, wanting to fit into a group but don’t, but they are still smoking. And finally there are the “Mavericks”: women who were “not into the feminine image,” they are primarily white, single, employed part-time,” but value “financial and personal independence.”  They are also very pro-smoking and won’t be told what to do.  As different as all these groups were, they had one thing in common: they all smoked Marlboros over other brands, as much as 10 times more, and the tobacco company wanted to understand why they smoked a cigarette marketed to men instead of one for women.

The one thing the tobacco company surmised is that the women in each group were showing their independence, their freedom and individualism, which is “a core value of American society.”  The tobacco industry has also fostered that idea of freedom to smoke if you want.  But this freedom and individualism is also used against you by the tobacco industry.  While it is your choice to smoke, and the tobacco industry encourages you to do so, if you get lung cancer, it is also your fault. The tobacco industry is great at manipulating you to use an addictive product by using their advertisements to draw you into their form of reality, or should we say fantasy. They don’t target adults, because most adults can chose to be whatever they want; they target youth who are looking for some group to belong, to be that person they fantasize themselves to be.

Marlboro5The fantasy of the Marlboro cowboy is still an iconic image for many, but changes have been made through the years. He doesn’t smoke much in magazines ads anymore, but you might catch him smoking in direct mailings or emails sent to subscribers’ homes.  Marlboro9 In fact, you may not see him at all as more ads are promoting Marlboro’s latest sweepstakes and providing seasonal giveaways without a single horse, rider or cigarette in sight. And while Philip Morris pegged women into their various categories, they don’t appear to be featuring or even mentioning them in any ads, as seen in this direct mailing sent out to subscribers at the right.

The tobacco industry has spent millions to conduct studies to pigeon-hole people, in this case women, into the neat little categories they visualize.  And whether smokers are lighting up a “woman’s” or “man’s” cigarette, they are getting hooked into using a product that will cause them disease and shorten their life.  Is this the fantasy you visualized before you started smoking?

Click HERE to read The Real Marlboro Man
Top three advertisement pictures from Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising.
Bottom two pictures from Trinkets and Trash.

 

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Great American Spit Out

Ditch_the_snuffSpit it out, throw away the can and get ready for the Great American Spit Out on February 19.  Every one should know by now that smoking is bad for you, but using smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative.  Cigarettes contain nicotine, a chemical that causes you to become addicted, but smokeless tobacco contains 3 to 4 times more nicotine than cigarettes, causing the addiction even tougher to kick.  Let’s face it, whether you take a puff or a pinch, you are putting chemicals into your body that shouldn’t be there.

So why should you ditch the snuff, chewing tobacco and dip?  Check the ingredients listed in smokeless tobacco by the US Smokeless Tobacco Company, and you will not find “carcinogens” listed, yet that is what researchers have found.  In fact, there are “28 known carcinogens in smokeless tobacco,” and  “tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA) are considered to be the most important due to the combination of abundance and strong carcinogenicity.”  Two of the main carcinogenic compounds are NNK and KKK, but others include “N–nitrosamino acids, volatile N–nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), volatile aldehydes, hydrazine, metals, and radioactive polonium.” And let’s not forget nicotine; you will absorb three to four times more in smokeless than from smoking.

Did you know most smokeless tobacco is sweetened to make it taste good?  “The range of sugar contents for the pouch tobaccos tested was between 24 and 65 percent and for the plug tobaccos 13 to 50 percent.”  And they need all that sugar to mask the taste of all the other ingredients such as formaldehyde, cadmium used in batteries, cyanide, arsenic, benzene, and lead.

You can get the same diseases from smokeless tobacco as you can from rotted_teethsmoking including heart disease, heart attacks, and high blood pressure.  If you have diabetes, smokeless can make controlling your numbers very difficult.  And let’s not forget about cavities from all that sugar, gums that are receding, and sores in your mouth that don’t go away. And cancer.  “Every year over 481,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed.” And oral cancer from using smokeless tobacco has bad survival rates; of those diagnosed, only about half will survive more than five years.”  But if caught early, oral cancer can be highly curable.  If you notice a sore in your mouth, waiting is not a good idea.

So, after all this information, are you ready to ditch smokeless?  There is better stuff out there, like money in your pocket, more time with your family and less time running out to buy your fix and hiding it from them.  There is also the peace of mind knowing you are on the path to better health and no longer the slave to tobacco.

There are also organizations out there waiting to help you 24/7.  If you are a member of the military, UCanQuit2.org offers live chats with an expert coach.  Use their “support locator” to find the number in your area.  Killthecan.org is a site with former smokeless tobacco members helping other members become former users.  Quitsmokless.org and TheQuit.org are two additional sites you may be interested in visiting on your journey to quitting smokeless.  Our mention is not an endorsement of any site, but just a way to help you get started ditching the snuff for the better stuff in life.

 

Click HERE to learn why you should “Ditch the Snuff”, click HERE to read more about smokeless tobacco facts, and click the links throughout the story to learn more about the dangers of smokeless tobacco.

 

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