History has shown that what tobacco businesses say is typically very different from what they do. They strive hard to persuade the public and governments that things are on the brink of improvement. However, surveillance and analysis of their business operations demonstrate that Big Tobacco looks eager to sacrifice human health for profits—regardless of what they say. This has been a consistent issue plaguing the world of tobacco. With that in mind, here’s how the future of tobacco looks right now.
Tobacco Companies are Cultivating Influence with Public Leaders and Non-Profits
Tobacco companies are trying to make strategic donations and form connections with groups and public authorities to safeguard their commercial interests and promote their image among current and potential consumers. These donations may also be used as a public relations tool to improve exposure among young people as they try to rebuild their reputation and attract a new generation of cigarette consumers.
However, Stop the Influence, a collaboration of the Truth Initiative, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Black Women’s Health Imperative, and AATCLC (African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council), is encouraging organizations to sign the pledge and continue the conversation by refusing funding and partnership from tobacco and vaping companies.
Tobacco Companies are Presenting Themselves as Good Citizens
Tobacco companies are launching and aggressively marketing flavored and electronic products to expand their market share while also making large-scale public relations efforts disguised as environmental, community, and public health programs.
According to a new study by the National Opinion Research Center and Truth Initiative®, the popular e-cigarette maker JUUL spent over 75 million dollars over two years on ads promoting their corporate social responsibility mission, far exceeding their 30 million dollar investment in underage use prevention initiatives.
According to another study published in Tobacco Control, another one of JUUL’s underage smoking-prevention initiatives, “What Parents Need to Know About JUUL,” did not appear to be designed to educate parents on the health risks of vaping or nicotine addiction.
At the end of the day, it’s all smoke and mirrors, and tobacco companies are doing whatever they can to make a quick buck, using “safer” vaping products as an excuse.
Tobacco Companies are Infiltrating Scientific Publishing and Research
To position themselves as experts on how to quit smoking, tobacco companies have employed scientists and public health professionals to conduct research on their behalf and present findings at scientific conferences while also establishing the “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World” to support scientific study.
According to a study conducted by Corporate Accountability and the University of Bath, researchers and staff members affiliated with the “Foundation for a Smoke-Free World” and its staff members failed to disclose tobacco industry connections. They also used the confusion surrounding the organization to their advantage to publish false research in various scientific journals.
Essentially, tobacco companies are using different tactics to market their products and improve their image and reputation in the eyes of the public. They use science to legitimize their operations and defend their positions, claiming they are expanding into new, healthier markets. However, with a long history of influencing public opinion and conflict of interest, no one can be trusted!