The Global Centre for Good Governance in Tobacco Control has urged the global community to recall how the public for decades was kept in the dark on the harms of cigarettes, noting that the awareness would help address any new tactics on the promotion of tobacco.
The reminder coincides with World No Tobacco day that annually falls on May 31. The theme for the event this year is ‘Tobacco and Lung Health’.
According to a GGTC statement published yesterday, transnational tobacco companies have invested billions in shaping public opinion to conveying a so-called “safer” nature of some recent products, such as nicotine devices, while keeping silent about the problems related to its use.
The statement noted on the harms and addictive nature of the products, such as in reference to the teenage vaping epidemic and nicotine addiction, as well as the tobacco industry’s use of young social media influencers to market the devices.
Bungon Ritthiphakdee, executive director of GGTC, noted on a repeat of tobacco advertisement approaches from decades past.
“Sinister history is being repeated here,” Ms Ritthiphakdee said in the statement. “Tobacco companies’ current efforts recall previous decades when addictive and harmful products were sold through trendy advertising and clever corporate marketing that keeps the public ignorant about the harmful and addicting effects.”
Ms Bungon said that tobacco companies have yet to pay for the damage their products have caused.
She noted that rather than being held accountable, companies are instead enjoying increased profits, both through cigarettes and e-cigarettes, at the expense of a generation addicted to nicotine.
“We must remember that the tobacco companies leave the sick for the governments to treat and the dead bodies for the families to bury.” Ms Bungon said. “The deaths from the tobacco epidemic have been staggering and increasing, now seven million a year; the next generation will see more deaths from vaping.”