The Tobacco Industry spends billions to market its deadly products each year. Products are marketed through advertizing, promotion and sponsorship of many thing seemingly unrelated to tobacco. The manipulation lies in the goal behind these sponsorship activities. Advertizing promotion and sponsorship normalizes tobacco, making it seem like every other product. This increases its social acceptability and reduces the impact of efforts to educate people about its harmful effects.
Tobacco marketing falsely associates tobacco with desirable qualities like energy, glamour and sex appeal. It also strengthens the tobacco industry's influence over media, sporting and entertainment businesses.
In countries like Jamaica where partial bans prohibit the direct advertizing and promotion of tobacco products, tobacco companies frequently employ indirect marketing strategies such as:
· Sports and music events sponsorship
· Alleged corporate social responsibility activities
· Social media campaigns
· Branded merchandise
The solution to break free from tobacco company "manipulation" is a a comprehensive ban of all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. This is required under the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC)to which Jamaica is a signatory. Evidence shows that comprehensive advertising bans lead to reductions in the numbers of people starting and continuing smoking. Statistics show that banning tobacco advertising and sponsorship is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce tobacco demand and thus a tobacco control "best buy".
Countries that have implemented comprehensive bans have reduced tobacco consumption between 7-16%.
The National Council on Drug Abuse and the Ministry of Health are engaged in nationwide campaigns to bring awareness to the need to enforce bans on the tobacco industry. We are seeking to drive local efforts to counteract tobacco industry efforts to undermine tobacco control, specifically industry efforts to stall or stop comprehensive bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.