Working to prevent and reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs and moving Richland County towards a DRUG FREE community.

'Tis the Season of Advertising: Big Tobacco & Your Teen

By Taylor Smith

November 22, 2019


As Black Friday, the biggest shopping holiday of the year, rolls around you're going to receive that pile of ads that are shoved into the mailbox. It's important to remember the goal of an ad: to sell you something. It doesn't matter who the company is, they are in competition with other companies and they want YOU to buy their product. 

In this article, I'm going to reveal a few secrets about how the tobacco industry is using advertisements to lure in you and your family, specifically your teens. By the end of this article, I hope that you're more aware of the tricks that advertising may be using to create more nicotine addicted citizens. 

Big Tobacco needs teens as replacement smokers.

As the older generation of smokers are coming ill with many illnesses related to smoking, the tobacco companies still need a way to make money and sell their products. Youth, today's teenager, are the ideal customer. You'll find it interesting to know that Big Tobacco owns the modern vaping companies. Big Tobacco companies like Altria, Inc. have invested heavily in JUUL, a major e-cigarette manufacturer. Just in September, JUUL's CEO was replaced with a well known tobacco executive, K.C. Crosthwaite. (Read More Here)

Here is a few quotes from a Big Tobacco Executives, 

“We do realise that today’s teenager is tomorrow’s potential regular customer” (Philip Morris Memo, 1981)

“It’s also a well known fact that teenagers like sweet products. Honey, for example, might be considered [as an additive]” (B&W 1972, from John Schwartz, Documents Indicate Strategy of Targeting Teen Smokers, Washington Post, February 5, 1998)

It's important to know the motives, now we can examine what how these companies target to our teens today. 

New dog, same tricks.

Vaping is a new in our society, but Big Tobacco is using the same tricks to hook teens at an early age. Here are some old cigarette ads versus new e-cigarette ads supplied by Stanford University.

These don't look like tobacco ads, but you'll notice logo in the bottom right corner. They're riding on the reputation and inspiration that Dr. MLK Jr. to catch your eye. 

While these ads may make you feel like tobacco use will give you freedom, we now know that addiction results in a loss of freedom and the desire for nicotine begins to control when, where, and how you do things. 

Ariana Grande is a famous popular sing/songwriter among teens. In addition to the bright colors and catchy slogans, these companies have incorporated iconic hairstyles and attire into the ads. 

CACY can help.

CACY offers an interactive presentation with all of this information and more about vaping, nicotine addiction, Big Tobacco, making youth aware of the way they are targeted, and resources to learn to say no. We've been active in schools presenting this information. We want all youth and adults to have the facts so that you can make your own decisions on how to live a fulfilling and healthy life that is free of addiction. 

If you would like a Prevention Educator from CACY to come present a vaping prevention message for your school or business, please contact us via email at , call 419-774-5683, or send a message on Facebook.

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