Declaration of Yolonda RichardsonExecutive Vice President, Tobacco Free Kids Campaign
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A new study published today in tobacco control details how the world’s largest tobacco companies consistently advertise cigarettes to children near playgrounds and schools in more than 40 countries. The study is the most in-depth analysis to date of cigarette point-of-sale advertising in low- and middle-income countries and was written by experts from Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Global Tobacco Control. Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The new analysis includes data collected from 2015 to 2021 at outlets within walking distance of schools and playgrounds in 42, mostly low- and middle-income countries. The analysis revealed nearly identical marketing tactics across the countries studied, suggesting that the tactics are part of a concerted effort by multinational companies to expose young people to their cigarette brands and products around the world.
Cigarette brands from British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International have been found advertised near schools or playgrounds in nearly every country surveyed. Both companies have been adamant that they don’t sell cigarettes to children – and have gone so far as to claim they want people to quit. Yet overwhelming evidence from dozens of countries around the world suggests that British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International are targeting the world’s most vulnerable populations to continue their cigarette business.
In addition to advertising near schools and playgrounds, other common tactics identified in the analysis include cigarette displays near sweets and snacks, cigarette displays at a child’s eye level, and the sale of flavored and stick cigarettes. Tobacco companies work with cigarette retailers and encourage them to control the availability, placement, prices and promotion of their products.
In 2021, British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International together sold over 1.3 trillion cigarettes. Cigarette sales have increased in many low- and middle-income countries identified in the analysis
Tobacco companies have known for decades that point-of-sale cigarette advertising is associated with youth smoking initiation and leads many to become lifelong smokers. It is clear that tobacco companies sell their deadly products in outlets frequented by children because they know that this strategy works to attract young people and that their business depends on the addiction of new consumers.
The findings of this analysis underscore the urgent need for more countries to implement proven tobacco control solutions, including comprehensive bans on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Without urgent and comprehensive action to ban cigarette advertising, the world’s biggest tobacco companies will continue to take advantage of weak regulations to market cigarettes to children and young people.
For more information on how tobacco companies target children, please visit: https://www.takeapart.org/tiny-targets/
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids