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Middlesex-London Health Unit

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Tobacco Industry and Advertising

Did you know? Smoking kills over 45,000 Canadians each year?1 Combine this number with the thousands of current smokers that will successfully make a quit attempt this year, and you can understand why the Tobacco Industry is trying to reverse this trend and recruit new consumers.

The Tobacco Industry (also known as “Big Tobacco”) is using a variety of tactics to get new people hooked on their products. Evidence has shown that tobacco companies target their marketing towards children and teens.2

The Tobacco Industry is Marketing to Youth

When a company creates an advertisement for a product, they first determine their target population (who will buy this product) and then research how to promote the product and make it attractive. Tobacco companies are using this same strategy to sell the idea of tobacco products to teens.

Did you know? Roughly 130,000 Canadian smokers aged 15-19 have taken up smoking because they were exposed to on-screen smoking?3

The Tobacco Industry knows that the media is very influential on children and teens, and so they use tactics like paying producers to promote cigarettes in movies, or pay actors in movies to smoke their brand of cigarettes on screen.4 The Tobacco Industry will go to any length to make smoking look cool and sexy to manipulate youth into becoming addicted to their products.

Don’t Be a Target

Do not be sucked in or fooled by what the Tobacco Industry is doing! Tobacco companies are working hard to make smoking and tobacco use look cool in order to manipulate young people into trying their products, in the hopes that teens get hooked. You are more than just a number!

Be Informed

What Can You Do?

Eliminating smoking and tobacco product use in the home and in public places will help to change people’s opinion of smoking, make it a less socially accepted behaviour, and can work towards the goal of preventing people from starting to smoke.

You can stand up against this and fight to denormalize tobacco. Denormalization means to move away from what seems normal, such as making smoking a less socially accepted behaviour.

  • Make your home tobacco-free: no tobacco use or smoking permitted in the home.
  • Teachers and coaches can work on creating tobacco-free policies: ban all tobacco-products in the school and on sports teams.
  • In the community we can advocate for and support smoke-free outdoor spaces, such as public parks and sports fields.

For more information, please contact the Middlesex-London Health Unit Tobacco Control Team:

 
Date of creation: February 17, 2013
Last modified on: March 26, 2015
 

References

1Canadian Lung Association. (2012). Smoking & Tobacco: Facts about smoking. Retrieved from
http://www.on.lung.ca/page.aspx?pid=460
2Canadian Lung Association. (2012). Smoking & Tobacco: Facts about smoking. Retrieved from
http://www.on.lung.ca/page.aspx?pid=460
3Polansky, J. (2010). Tobacco Vector: How American movies, Canadian film subsidies and provincial rating practices will kill 43,000 Canadian teen alive today-and what Canadian government scan do about it. Physicians for Smoke-Free Canada.
4Canadian Lung Association. (2012). Smoking & Tobacco: Facts about smoking. Retrieved from
http://www.on.lung.ca/page.aspx?pid=460