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Anti-Smoking Ads Call Out the Racial Profiling Used by Big Tobacco

Did you know that tobacco companies tend to advertise up to ten times more in black neighborhoods? It’s this fact and a few others that are driving Truth’s new ad campaign.

You probably remember the Truth anti-smoking PSAs of years past – which usually stuck to the Reaganite “just say no” method of preventing teenagers from getting hooked on cigarettes. But these days Truth is reaching beyond the tired D.A.R.E.-style messaging and are focusing more on the social justice issues behind smoking.
Amanda Seals Calls Out Big Tobacco for Racial Profiling…

Truth teamed up with Insecure and Greatest Ever’s Amanda Seals call out big tobacco’s not-so-subtle racial profiling in their advertising choices. In the ad, we follow Seals through neighborhoods in Washington D.C., where she interviews residents in a traditional man-on-the-street fashion.

“Big Tobacco must love diversity,” she sarcastically starts. “They must love it so much,” she continues from the corner of a black D.C. neighborhood, “that here, they advertise up to ten times more in black neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods.” That fact is echoed by the second ad in the series, which points out that in black neighborhoods, tobacco retailers are much more likely to be located close to schools.

“How is that O.K.?” she asks. “IT’S NOT” flashes across the screen.

“Big Tobacco is really trying to be friends with black folks… I see you,” she continues. “So much so that in the past, they called us a ‘market priority.’ It’s not a coincidence, it’s profiling. Don’t let it go unseen.”

How Smoking Became a Social Justice Issue

In an interview with Essence, Seals explained why she wanted to join up with Truth to shine a light on the shady sales tactics employed by Big Tobacco. “I honestly was just generally frustrated at the continued efforts I feel like are put in place to harm the Black community in a deleterious way,” she said. “It was just another element that I honestly didn’t know about. It was very surprising that I didn’t know about it. That was actually the most shocking part, like ‘How did I not know about this,’ Because the numbers are just staggering, which is of course what made me say ‘I need to be a part of this, if I can be.’”

Ads like this might have been hard for Truth to make in the 90s when the advocacy group was most active. But conversations about topics like institutional racism have been forced into the spotlight much more in the past few years – driven in part by the fresh resistance style of Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements that are mainly pushed by millennials.

In comparison to other generations, many studies show that millennials are less likely to take up smoking – a positive outcome for the “just say no” mentality than many millennials grew up with.

On the other hand, that just makes Big Tobacco get more creative. Investigations into the same studies that show smoking rates down for millennials, also have bad news – social smoking skews the data, for one.

So maybe by turning smoking into a social justice issue, Truth will be able to get a head start stomping out social smoking – especially among social justice-minded millennials.

Slovenia adopts plain packaging

Congratulations to SFP Coalition Partners No excuse Slovenia and Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control for their tireless advocacy to support this legislation in the last year.

On 15 February the Slovenian Parliament adopted the draft law proposed by the government without a single vote against. Plain packaging is expected to enter into force in 2020.

Briefly, the new Slovenian Tobacco law includes:

– Plain packaging (65% coverage with health warnings and quitting information)
– Introduction of license for selling tobacco products,
– Total display and Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) ban
– Prohibition of selling tobacco products with aromas and other additives
– Prohibition of smoking in cars with a minor present
– Prohibition of smoking indoors including E-cigarettes
– Mystery shopping/test purchasing by underage,
– Measures of prevention of illicit trade

Reducing Smoking Prevalence through Tobacco Taxation in Ukraine

Modeling the Long-Term Health and Cost Impacts of Reducing Smoking Prevalence through Tobacco Taxation in Ukraine

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Morley: The cigarette brand that doesn’t exist… even though it’s in every TV show

This made-up brand has a long history, from Lost to the X Files to the Dick van Dyke Show

Look closely at a smoker in any of your favourite TV shows and there’s a good chance their cigarette of choice is a Morley.

But you won’t find that brand in your local corner shop, because Morley doesn’t exist – and never has.

So why does everybody on screen smoke the same made-up brand? This informative video explains how Morley became a dominant force in TV history.

It all comes back to the early days of television in America. Cigarette companies could essentially advertise their wares through product placement, but if none of the cigarette companies agreed to pay to put their brand in a TV show, producers would instead insert a pack of Morleys. That way no one got free advertising.

But then! As the dangers of smoking became more and more apparent, cigarette companies were banned from paying for their products to be included in TV shows. It was time for Morley to make a comeback.

After a comprehensive re-brand to the packaging (now red and white), Morleys again became ubiquitous. They’re in Orange Is The New Black, Gun Shy, Californication, Gun Shy, Burn Notice, American Horror Story…

So next time you spot someone having a fag on the telly, you never know: it might just be a Morley.

Global tobacco control

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Metro TV welcomes plan to ban cigarette ads

Metro TV news director Suryapratomo said Friday that the private TV station welcomed lawmakers’ plan to ban cigarette advertisements on television and radio, saying that a ban would not significantly affect its revenue.

“Lawmakers have the right to make any regulation. But I hope the House of Representatives carries out comprehensive discussion before making a final decision,” Suryapratomo told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

He added that a ban would have minimal impact on Metro TV, as cigarette ads contributed only a small portion to the company’s revenues.

“So please do ban [cigarette ads on TV] if you want. Metro TV does not make much from cigarette ads. We also don’t air cigarette ads frequently on our TV station,” Suryapratomo emphasized.

TV stations are currently allowed to air cigarette ads only after 10 p.m. However, the government may issue a total ban on cigarette ads on TV and radio, with a draft bill comprising stipulations of a ban awaiting deliberation at the House.

The House is expected to start deliberations this month and has assured that it will include various stakeholders in the discussion to gain comprehensive insight.

Cigarette ad ban aims to protect children, lawmaker says

The House of Representatives’ plan to ban tobacco companies from advertising their products on television and radio aims to protect young audiences, says a lawmaker.

Lawmaker Elnino M. Husein Mohi argued that cigarette advertisements could be easily viewed by children.

“Broadcasting companies run the industry using state-owned frequency, which is supposedly used to help build good character,” Elnino told The Jakarta Post on Friday, adding that smoking did not help build positive character. “The plan to ban cigarette advertisements is basically meant to protect youngsters from the campaign”.

The politician from the Gerindra Party explained the House had included stipulations to ban such advertisements in a draft bill on broadcasting to amend a prevailing law passed in 2002. The current draft was initiated by the House.

Elnino, a member of House Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information, however, ensured that Commission I would open the deliberation process to the public to include relevant stakeholders in the discussion.

“We are aware of the complexity of the issue. Therefore, deliberations will later invite insights from various stakeholders, including the broadcasting industry, so that we can obtain a comprehensive understanding before passing the bill into law,” he emphasized. (dmr)

Indonesia may ban cigarette advertisements from TV, radio

The government may completely ban tobacco companies from advertising their products on television and radio in the future, according to a tobacco watchdog.

The National Commission on Tobacco Control (Komnas PT) said on Thursday that the latest draft of the broadcasting bill stipulated that the content of a broadcast advertisement was prohibited from promoting alcohol, cigarettes, and other addictive products. The bill is a revision of Law No. 32/2002 on broadcasting.

“The banning of [tobacco] advertisements, promotion and sponsorship in the bill is a policy by the House of Representative that is progressive and conforms to the Health Law and several Constitutional Court rulings,” Komnas PT law and advocate department member Muhamad Joni said.

Joni pointed out that the latest draft of the bill indicated the country was showing progress in tobacco control efforts as previous drafts did not contain such stipulations.

“The House has proven to be in favor of tobacco control and the public’s protection. Therefore, the bill must be secured in its deliberation process until it is passed,” Joni said. (dan)

Swedish anti-cigarette billboard ‘coughs’ when smokers walk by


Nicotine addicts who find themselves mindlessly smoking through the streets of Stockholm are being reminded that the habit isn’t healthy – but not by a doctor. Instead, a billboard equipped with smoke detectors is ‘coughing’ as they pass by.

The electronic sign featuring a black-and-white picture of a man seems usual enough upon first glance and for non-smokers it will continue to appear ordinary. However, smokers will see a different side of the billboard when they walk by, as the man on the sign begins coughing in reaction to their secondhand smoke.

A video that the pharmacy posted online shows the mixed reactions of passersby, ranging from confusion to amusement. One man looks at the sign while continuing to puff on his cigarette, while a woman starts laughing after realizing she was the one who triggered the coughing.

The billboard ends with an advertisement for nicotine gum products from various manufacturers.

The pharmacy said the sign is “just in time for the New Year” and aimed at helping people “live a longer and healthier life.”

Although the billboard has apparently been placed in an area “where people smoke a lot,” Sweden actually has the lowest smoking rate of all European Member states, just 13 percent, according to a 2012 report by the European Council

Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies

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