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Global tobacco marketing campaign accused of targeting minors

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Tobacco marketing minorsA stylish young woman clad in tight maroon pants and a short leather jacket has her fellow up against a brick wall as they share a passionate kiss. The caption underneath the photo reads, “Maybe never fell in love.”

A musician laughs while she picks a guitar, holding a lit cigarette in the other hand. The caption reads, “Maybe never wrote a song.”

A third young person is airborne above the outstretched hands of fellow concertgoers, accompanied by the caption “No more maybe.”

Each advertisement ends with the command to “Be Marlboro,” and is part of an international marketing campaign that public health advocates say is targeted toward children and teenagers in 50 countries with the goal of hooking them on a lifelong and deadly habit.

On Wednesday, a group of those advocates, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Corporate Accountability International and the Alliance for the Control of Tobacco Use, released a report (PDF) detailing how the “Be Marlboro” blitz is designed specifically to appeal to minors and demanding that Philip Morris International immediately pull the advertisements. The report estimates, based on figures provided to investors, that the company spent at least $62 million on the campaign in 2012, the most recent figures available.

“The ‘Be Marlboro’ ads threaten the health of millions of youths,” Matthew Myers, the president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in an interview with Al Jazeera. "Young, hip models, partying, thrill-seeking — it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at these ads and see that their primary impact will be on young people."

TVNL Comment:  There is NO other product that, if used as directed, will kill or seriously injure the person using it.  Why, then, are tobacco products allowed anywhere in the world?  Just asking....


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