The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘smoking’

The Regulatory Situation of Smoking

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 1, 2011

From The Independent:

More than half a century after scientists uncovered the link between smoking and cancer – triggering a war between health campaigners and the cigarette industry – big tobacco is thriving.

Despite the known catastrophic effects on health of smoking, profits from tobacco continue to soar and sales of cigarettes have increased: they have risen from 5,000 billion sticks a year in the 1990s to 5,900 billion a year in 2009. They now kill more people annually than alcohol, Aids, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders and suicides combined.

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The West now consumes fewer and fewer of the world’s cigarettes: richer countries have changed – from smoking 38 per cent of the world total in 1990, they cut down to 24 per cent in 2009. Meanwhile, the developing world’s share in global cigarette sales has increased sharply, rising to 76 per cent in 2009.

An investigation by The Independent on Sunday reveals that tobacco firms have taken advantage of lax marketing rules in developing countries by aggressively promoting cigarettes to new, young consumers, while using lawyers, lobby groups and carefully selected statistics to bully governments that attempt to quash the industry in the West.

In 2010, the big four tobacco companies – Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco – made more than £27bn profit, up from £26bn in 2009.

The price of their profits will be measured in human lives. In the 20th century, some 100 million people were killed by tobacco use. If current trends continue, tobacco will kill a billion people in the 21st century.

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Anna Gilmore, professor of public health at the University of Bath, said: “What most people don’t realise is that, although sales are falling in the West, industry profits are increasing. These companies remain some of the most profitable in the world. This is thanks in part to their endless inventive ways of undermining and circumventing regulation. They’re trying to reinvent their image to ingratiate themselves with governments, but behind the scenes it’s business as usual.”

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In Indonesia alone there are 21 million child smokers. There is little to stop companies promoting cigarettes to young people. In countries such as Nigeria, Ukraine and Brazil, tobacco companies have sponsored club nights or parties aimed at attracting new young users. In Russia, attempts to entice women smokers have included packaging made to look like jewel-encrusted perfume bottles and even selling cigarettes branded by the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.

Dr Armando Peruga, programme manager for the WHO’s tobacco free initiative, said: “We need to do more. We need to stop the tobacco industry promoting themselves as normal corporate citizens when they are killing people every day. We are lagging behind in establishing comprehensive bans on advertising, marketing, promotion and sponsorship.”

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Laurent Huber, director of the Framework Convention Alliance on tobacco control, said: “In countries like Uruguay, the tobacco industry uses its vast wealth to tie up public health measures in court battles. Win or lose, this has a chilling effect on other governments.”

These tricks are by no means confined to the less-regulated emerging countries. In Australia, which will become the first country to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes by law, the industry has been accused of scaremongering against the measures by threatening to flood the market with cheap fags.

In Britain, the industry is also prone to taking any measures necessary to keep regulation at bay. This autumn a group of tobacco companies is taking the Government to court over its proposals to ban cigarette displays in all shops.

More often in the UK, though, Big Tobacco’s attempts to alter public opinion are more subtle. A study from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), out this week, scrutinises the credibility of economic arguments used by the industry to fight back against legislation. For example, when Christopher Ogden, chief executive of the Tobacco Manufacturers Association, said in 2010 that the smoking ban had severely threatened the pub and bingo industry because of lost jobs and livelihoods, the reality was a little different. Data from the Office for National Statistics shows a net increase in the number of people visiting pubs since the smoking ban. When England went smoke-free in 2007, the number of premises licensed for alcohol increased by 5 per cent, and it has continued to grow every year since.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “In line with our international treaty obligations, the UK government has not only banned advertising and put health warnings on packs, but also committed to protect public health policies from the commercial and vested interests of the tobacco industry. To get round this, the industry uses front groups to covertly lobby politicians, arguing that smoke-free legislation has destroyed the pub trade, and that putting tobacco out of sight in shops will both be ineffective and put corner shops out of business.

More.

Related Situationist posts.

Posted in Choice Myth, Deep Capture, Education, Law, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Secondhand Smoking

Posted by The Situationist Staff on January 20, 2011

From EurekaAlert:

Seeing actors smoke in a movie activated the brain areas of smokers that are known to interpret and plan hand movements, as though they too were about to light a cigarette, according to a new study in the Jan. 19 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Habitual smokers repeat the same hand motions, sometimes dozens of times a day. In this study, researchers led by senior investigator Todd Heatherton, PhD, and graduate student Dylan Wagner of Dartmouth College set out to determine whether the parts of the brain that control that routine gesture could be triggered by simply seeing someone else smoke.

The authors found that seeing this familiar action — even when embedded in a Hollywood movie — evoked the same brain responses as planning to actually make that movement. These results may provide additional insight for people trying to overcome nicotine addiction, a condition that leads to one in five U.S. deaths each year.

“Our findings support prior studies that show smokers who exit a movie that had images of smoking are more likely to crave a cigarette, compared with ones who watched a movie without them,” Wagner said. “More work is needed to show whether brain activity in response to movie smoking predicts relapse for a smoker trying to quit.”

During the study, 17 smokers and 17 non-smokers watched the first 30 minutes of the movie “Matchstick Men” while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The researchers chose the movie because it prominently features smoking scenes but otherwise lacks alcohol use, violence, and sexual content.

The volunteers were unaware that the study was about smoking. When they viewed smoking scenes, smokers showed greater brain activity in a part of the parietal lobe called the intraparietal sulcus, as well as other areas involved in the perception and coordination of actions. In the smokers’ brains specifically, the activity corresponded to the hand they use to smoke.

“Smokers trying to quit are frequently advised to avoid other smokers and remove smoking paraphernalia from their homes, but they might not think to avoid a movie with smoking content,” Wagner said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that exposure to onscreen smoking in movies makes adolescents more likely to smoke. According to their 2010 report, tobacco use in films has decreased in recent years, but about half of popular movies still contained tobacco imagery in 2009, including 54 percent of those rated PG-13.

Scott Huettel, PhD, of Duke University, an expert in the neuroscience of decision-making who was unaffiliated with the study, said scientists have long known that visual cues often induce drug cravings. “This finding builds upon the growing body of evidence that addiction may be reinforced not just by drugs themselves, but by images and other experiences associated with those drugs,” Huettel said.

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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see

Posted in Choice Myth, Deep Capture, Entertainment, Food and Drug Law, Marketing, Neuroscience | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

A “Healthy” Alternative or the Latest Trick?

Posted by Adam Benforado on June 3, 2009

Smoke 6 colorsEven after all of these years, after millions of deaths, after countless damning scientific reports, and billions in settlements, cigarette companies are still going after children.

According to a report, “Deadly in Pink,” published last February,

The nation’s two largest tobacco companies—Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds—have launched new marketing campaigns that depict cigarette smoking as feminine and fashionable to counter the growing public consensus that smoking is socially unacceptable and unhealthy.

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These new marketing campaigns represent the most aggressive efforts by the tobacco industry to target women and girls in at least a decade. These campaigns are jeopardizing the progress the United States has made in reducing smoking and once again putting the health of women and girls at risk.

The strategy has involved revised product design, new advertising, and promotional offers.

In January 2007, R.J. Reynolds launched a new version of its Camel cigarette, called Camel No. 9, packaged in shiny black boxes with hot pink and teal borders. The name evoked famous Chanel perfumes, and the marketing campaign associated the brand with romance and glamour through magazine ads that featured flowery imagery and vintage fashion. “Light and luscious” promised the first ads in the campaign. “Now available in stiletto” and “dressed to the 9s,” read a later magazine ad that pitched a thin version of the cigarette to “the most fashion forward woman.”

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Ads for Camel No. 9 ran in magazines popular with both women and girls, including Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and InStyle. Promotional giveaways have included flavored lip balm, cell phone jewelry, tiny purses and wristbands, all in hot pink. The marketing campaign prompted the Oregonian newspaper to editorialize that R.J. Reynolds, which once marketed to kids with the now-banned Joe Camel cartoon character, was doing it again with “Barbie Camel.”

Camel No 9

Although this marketing appears to have been effective, the greatest coup for the cigarette industry in hooking children and undermining “the growing public consensus that smoking is socially unacceptable and unhealthy” may come from without.

According to an article in the New York Times, the savior for the industry may be the electronic cigarette.

The battery-powered device . . . [sold] online deliver[s] an odorless dose of nicotine and flavoring without cigarette tar or additives, and produce[s] a vapor mist nearly identical in appearance to tobacco smoke.

. . . .

That electronic cigarettes are unapproved by the government and virtually unstudied has not deterred thousands of smokers from flocking to mall kiosks and the Internet to buy them.  And because they produce no smoke, they can be used in workplaces, restaurants and airports.  One distributor is aptly named Smoking Everywhere.

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The reaction of medical authorities and antismoking groups has ranged from calls for testing to skepticism to outright hostility. Opponents say the safety claims are more rumor than anything else, since the components of e-cigarettes have never been tested for safety.

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In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has already refused entry to dozens of shipments of e-cigarettes coming into the country, mostly from China, the chief maker of them, where manufacture began about five years ago.

. . . .

For $100 to $150 or so, a user can buy a starter kit including a battery-powered cigarette and replaceable cartridges that typically contain nicotine (though cartridges can be bought without it), flavoring and propylene glycol, a liquid whose vaporizing produces the smokelike mist.  When a user inhales, a sensor heats the cartridge.  The flavorings include tobacco, menthol and cherry, and the levels of nicotine vary by cartridge.

Even leaving aside whether the e-cigarettes are safe (it is worth noting that sales and use of them are illegal in Australia and Hong Kong on just such grounds), there is a significant danger that, with their ease of use, fruity flavors, and “coolness,” they may be especially appealing to children.

“It looks like a cigarette and is marketed as a cigarette,” said Jonathan P. Winickoff, an associate professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium. “There’s nothing that prevents youth from getting addicted to nicotine.”

With big bucks on the line, there are countless interests urging the government to wait to act on e-cigarettes until the smoke clears.  The funny thing is that this time there’s no smoke.

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For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Changing Face of Marketing?,” Market Manipulation – Assuaging Cognitive Dissonance,” and “Without the Filter,” “Deep Capture – Part VII,” and “Promoting Smoking through Situation.”

Posted in Choice Myth, Food and Drug Law, Marketing | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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