The gas station has lots of signs. “We card!”
reads one. At the same time, other signs read: “Alive with pleasure!” “Buy one pack, get one free!” ”Lowest legal cigarette prices!”
The signs drive me nuts.
||Why do cigarette makers advertise? Well, because it works, of course. Teens began smoking Camels in unprecedented numbers after the cartoon character, Joe Camel, was introduced in 1988. The campaign was so effective that Congress banned the use of cartoon characters, cigarette brand clothing, and several other marketing practices in 1997. |
Can you guess how the cigarette companies spend their money now? The tobacco manufacturers now put 94% of their advertising budgets into point-of-sale marketing; examples include in-store and window displays, price promotions, on-pack coupons, and value-added gift offers.
Marketing has a direct impact on whether kids will begin or increase tobacco use. A study
by Dr. Sandy Slater and others in the May 2007 Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
concludes that initiating smoking was associated with increased advertsing in non-smoking teens. Lower cigarette prices were associated with progression to regular smoking in teens who were light smokers.
Federal Trade Commission data show that the tobacco industry spent $14.2 billion for advertising in 2003. Compare that with the entire 2003 National Cancer Institute budget of just under $4.6 billion! Does it make sense that three times more money is spent to encourage teen smoking as to provide federal support for cancer research?
Our campus is going smoke-free in November. Our state legislature is considering making all Wisconsin businesses smoke-free. Whenever I walk into a gas station and look at the signs, I realize that going smoke-free can’t happen soon enough for this cancer surgeon.