Trinkets and Trash May 2019

Summer time is around the corner and the tobacco companies are gearing up with their new sweepstakes and invitations for the season.  You probably won’t win any prizes, but the tobacco company already has by keeping you as a loyal customer.  Trinkets and Trash monitors the tobacco industry through their ads in publications, direct mail, email, and websites.  The tobacco industry is great on drawing their user’s emotions with absurd adverting and specific targeting of cultures.  These are just some of the ads from May.

That old red truck is back, this time in Winston’s summer ad, promoting a sweepstakes that runs through the end of July.  The tobacco company is the big winner.  You may not win one of the 5 big prizes or the 100 other prizes, but you will be able to continue your addiction to cigarettes with coupons.  If you sign up, be prepared to provide the last 4 digits of your social security number, your driver’s license number and your mobile phone number so you can receive a message to confirm your information and receive coupons through text messages.  Who approves these ads?  Did the advertisers not really look at the picture?  Who puts a guitar in the bed of a pickup, exposed to the elements?  And it is clear that at least four people are in the front seat which means no one is wearing a seat belt.  As for the motorcycle strapped incorrectly into the back of the bed, most people would be riding it rather than trucking it.

Commercial kick off for summer was Memorial Day weekend, and the tobacco industry wants to show you how patriotic they are by putting the American flag in their ads.  Cheyenne cigars make sure the colors are flying in their ad.  Do people know that these “cigars” are really flavored cigarettes wrapped in dark paper?  A quick search on the web shows you can get a carton of 200 for about $21, which is about a third of the cost of a carton of cigarettes.  It’s time to start calling these cigarette-like cigars what they really are…flavored cigarettes, and start taxing them as such.  Blu electronic cigarettes also thanked “those who have served and protect the nation we love.”  While our military members deserve our thanks, it would be better not to target them and hook them on nicotine products.

Since when does a real cigar add a filtered tip to the product?  Black and Mild is also pushing a shorter length.  Real cigars are rolled tobacco leaves, not crushed and shredded tobacco pieces.  Black and Mild “cigars” want users to upload pictures of themselves using their products.  Great way to advertise their product and influence youth without paying for models.  Again, not real cigars, but filtered cigarettes.  Isn’t it time for the FDA to crack down on manufacturers who are pushing flavored cigarettes in the guise of cigars?  Cheaper than cigarettes, but just as deadly.  Did you notice the warning label in the ad to the right mentions infertility and stillbirth, rather than cancer and heart disease?  They don’t want to scare potential customers with hard warning labels in publications or through their direct emails.  A quick check of B and M products on other websites show the harder hitting warning labels, but many sites show no warning labels at all.

Keeping prices low and labeling cigarettes as cigars are just two ways the tobacco industry keeps users hooked on nicotine and keeps them as customers.  In the specific ads mentioned above, the tobacco industry has targeted blacks and the military and played on emotions to grab their attention.  Who will they target next?

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