Exploring Human Potential

“Going Up In Air” – Tobacco Strikes (again)

Posted on | May 3, 2019 | No Comments

Mike Magee

In chapter 8 (“Masters of Manipulation”) of my soon to be released (Grove Atlantic/June 4, 2019) book, CODE BLUE: Inside the Medical Industrial Complex, I trace the history of Big Tobacco’s complicit relationship with health care, and how unscrupulous marketers from opioid king Arthur Sackler, to stress racketeer Hans Selye, to ADHD opportunist Leandro Panizzon, whose wife Rita lent her name to the generic redo amphetamine “Ritalin”, followed the tobacco marketing playbook letter for letter.

This week the Ad Agency, Crispin Porter Bogusky, helped launch “Quit Big Tobacco”, asking marketing companies to voluntarily pledge not to work for the tobacco industry. But if you think the issue is about cigarettes, you’d be wrong. It’s about vaping, which is growing in leaps and bounds.

As Ad Exec Alex Bogusky points out, vaping is Big Tobacco in disguise. In his words, among the offenders are “Altria, which owns Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, yet also holds 35 percent of the vaping giant Juul; Reynolds American, which owns Vuse; and Imperial Tobacco, which owns Blu.”

The recent statistics are alarming:

1. Among high school students vaping increased 80% from 2017 to 2018, with over 2 million middle and high school users..

2. A Juul “pod” has more nicotine than an entire pack of cigarettes. Juul controls 3/4 of the child market.

3. Vape liquid additives form carcinogenic compounds on combustion.

4. Juul store signage is deliberately placed at children’s eye ;levels.

5. Boardroom stated goal for vaping: “nicotine addiction no matter the vehicle.”

Courageous Ad giants are beginning to speak up. A few samples:

Madalene Milano: Partner, GMMB

“It’s kids — that’s the tipping point. It’s the manipulation of kids and getting kids hooked, who replace their adult smokers who die.”

Robin Koval: CEO & President, Truth Initiative

“The advertising and public relations community has a critical and urgent choice to make in the face of an e-cigarette epidemic among youth. Work for the tobacco industry to legitimize and spread its deception. Or be a force for good by refusing to help place a generation at risk for a lifetime of addiction.”

Katie Dain: CEO, NCD Alliance

“Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of #NCDs, including cancer, lung diseases & cardiovascular diseases. The NCD Alliance puts its mission first in everything we do. We do not work with any company that supports Big Tobacco.”

Jimmie Stone: Chief Creative Officer, Edelman NY

“We’re entering into a behavioral marketing era. The way you behave is your marketing. Not any longer can you build marketing with what you say, but with what you do.”

So far 175 individuals from the Ad and PR world have signed the pledge to Quit Big Tobacco. Join them HERE.


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