Tobacco Industry's Marketing Methods Exposed on Website
Paul Kelbie Scotland Correspondent, The Independent (London, England)
THE CYNICAL and exploitative methods used by tobacco companies to market cigarettes and snare a new generation of addicts were laid bare for the first time yesterday with the publication of thousands of previously confidential documents on the internet.
More than 14,000 pages of evidence examining the inner workings of the tobacco industry were made public by Cancer Research UK's Centre for Tobacco Control Research at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, which receives funding from NHS Health Scotland.
Yesterday's launch of www.tobaccopapers.com provides documents which relate to advertising campaigns intended to increase consumption among the young and undermine health policies. The documents also reveal how many tobacco companies in need of new consumers are intent to "grab them young".
A briefing paper by the CDP advertising agency in London for Benson & Hedges says: "We want more 18 to 34-year-old blokes smoking B&H than ever before. We want to see these dudes ripping up packets of Marlboro and Camel and treating them with disdain that second- rate, American filth deserves. For Christ's sake, what the hell are people doing smoking brands for "cowhands" and not [for] the youth of the trendiest, coolest, most happening country in the world."
The briefing paper then goes on to say that it is, "in many ways ... really a charity brief. Trying to help people recognise the error of their ways, thinking they are being cool smoking what `Roy bloody Rogers' smoked and opening their eyes to the unchallengeable truth that the coolest smoke in the world is a B&H". It goes on: "We want to see Great, British B&H in the Ben Sherman shirt pockets of Brit-popped, dance-crazed, tequila- drinking, Nike-kicking, Fast Show-watching, Loaded-reading, babe-pulling, young gentlemen."
Another document labels users of Hamlet cigars as boring, fat, middle- aged men who watch re-runs of The Sweeney.
In a clear attack on government policy, the documents reveal that one brainstorming session generated the idea of attacking Tessa Jowell and "positioning her as the minister of bans". Another communication suggests a brand of rolling tobacco should be made so popular that criminal "bootleggers" will want to sell it, thereby demonstrating that the industry is happy to benefit from, if not actively encourage, the black market. …