Keep Smiling No One's Going to Die

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Keep Smiling No One's Going to Die By Gerard Hastings and Lynn MacFadyen, October, 2000, produced for the National Health Service of Scotland.

Summary of published paper:

This 42-page report analyzed internal documents from the tobacco industry's main advertising agencies in the United Kingdom. The report's title was taken from the "gung ho" signing off in a letter from one of the ad agencies to its tobacco client. The authors felt its tone perfectly captured the tone from the the documents they examined: a mixture of ebullience and cynicism. The report concludes that

1) the aim of tobacco advertising is to increase consumption as well as brand share. (Tobacco companies routinely claim their advertising is only aimed at getting smokers to switch brands.)

2) Other strategies or advertising include undermining government policy and evading regulation.

3) The young are a key target, and imagery is required to reach them.

4) The documents show that segments of the population are identified and then the product, its price and its distribution are all manipulated to maximize satisfaction, and hence the uptake and continuance of smoking. Advertising is only part of the communications effort that supports this, along with other tools such as the pack, POS (point of sale material) and direct mail.

5) No attention is paid to the ethical questions about marketing to vulnerable groups, such as the poor, students or women.

6) Sponsorship and advertising have effectively become the same thing.

7) Health issues are avoided, and

8) The intelligence of the consumer is not respected.

The authors cite quotes from industry documents to support these conclusions.