The tobacco industry's product advertising may be more subtle these days, but it still has one main goal, namely to encourage 12-22 year-olds to smoke. What do you think of that?
For the tobacco industry, teens are worth their weight in gold. In the United States, in 2006, it spent $35 million per day to promote its products.
The tobacco industry has to replace all the smokers who quit or die as a result of smoking. This means it needs to recruit new, young smokers. If teens weren't taken in by its strategies, the industry would die.
The core element of the industry's marketing strategy is to convince teens that smoking will improve their image.
Teens enjoy movies. The tobacco companies are clever; they've forged connections with the movie industry to ensure that their products are shown in movies.
In the last 20 years, the number of characters who smoke onscreen has doubled, whereas, oddly enough, the number of smokers in North America has declined. It makes you think, doesn't it?
In 60% of movies, at least one of the main characters smokes.
Teens who regularly see movies containing smoking scenes are three times as likely to start smoking. They also tend to overestimate the percentage of smokers in real life.
Tobacco onscreen generates additional revenues of US$4.1 billion per year for the tobacco companies. That's quite a windfall.
In the industrialized world, there are laws that limit what the tobacco companies are able to do. As a result, the companies have turned instead to the developing world in their quest for new consumers.
In Niger, cigarettes are cheaper than water! And they're everywhere. People sometimes have to walk a kilometre or more to buy a bag of sugar, but they can find cigarettes on their doorstep.
In many countries, the tobacco industry can still sponsor sporting and cultural events, and is therefore able to associate its deadly products with dream lifestyles and popular stars.
In its internal documents, the tobacco industry compares cigarettes to "a drug delivery mechanism". Tobacco manufacturers = drug pushers.