Cigarettes became popular among World War soldiers as "soldier's smoke (Randall 1999)." Camel held 45% of the U.S. cigarette market by 1923 while Philip Morris produced women's cigarette, described as "mild as May." The American Tobacco Company produced Lucky Strike for women and captured 38% of the market. The number of female teenage smokers increased three times between 1925 and 1935 alone. In the spirit of competition, the American Tobacco Company in 1939 launched Pall Mall, which made it the largest tobacco company in the U.S. Cigarette sales went up higher during World War II when cigarettes even became part of soldiers' C-rations with food. Tobacco companies sent free cigarettes to soldiers at war. When they went home, they were a steady source of income to these companies. Alongside in the 50s, more and new evidence about the link between smoking and lung cancer was turning up. Tobacco companies first denied the connection and hazard and introduced new and "safer" products with lower tar and with filters. P. Lorillard came up with Kent with the "micronite filter" in 1952. It was found to contain asbestos and production was discontinued in 1956. In 1953, Dr. Ernst L. Wynders experimented on cigarette tar and discovered that it produces tumor when placed on the backs of mice. The following year, R.J. Reynolds produced and marketed filtered Winston brand and the first filter-tipped menthol Salem brand (Randall).
The 1964 Surgeon General's Office report on "Smoking and Health" allowed and helped the government regulate the advertising and sale of cigarettes (Randall 1999). It was during this decade when many health hazards to tobacco smoking were reported. Television cigarette ads were banned in Great Britain in 1965. Health warning labels began to be placed on cigarette packs by 1966. On account of adverse publicity, the major tobacco companies begin to diversify or change their image. Philip Morris bought the Miller Brewing Company for its Miller Lite and Red Dog Beer and to aluminum R.J. Reynolds Tobacco changed its name to R.J. Reynolds Industries. American Tobacco Company also changed its name to American Brands, Inc. Cigarette ads were finally stricken off from TV in the U.S. In 1971. But cigarettes have remained the second most heavily advertised products next only to automobiles. The 1979 Surgeon General's Office report publicized the health consequences of smoking on women. It was based on the increasing rate of women smokers who were influenced by the ad campaign of Virginia Slims (Randall).
Many lawsuits were filed against tobacco businesses in the 1980s because of the harmful effects of their products (Randall 1999). More public places began to ban or discourage it. The Surgeon General came farther by reporting in 1982 that second-hand smoke could cause lung cancer. Cigarette smoking was restricted in public places and especially in workplaces. Phillip Morris diversified further and bought General Foods Corporation and Kraft Inc. In 1985 R.J. Reynolds bought Nabisco and changed its name to RJR/Nabisco. Smoking in all domestic flights of less than 2 hours was banned by Congress in 1987. In 1990, it was banned in all domestic flights, except in Alaska and Hawaii. In the 80s and the 90s, cigarette marketing looked out of the U.S. And focused on developing countries in Asia. Recent evidence suggests that the tobacco industry had known all along about the harmful effects of their products but continued producing and marketing them. They also knew about the addictive property of nicotine but took advantage of public ignorance about it (Randall).
Commercial producers and promoters of tobacco have been subjected to different regulations in the past 360 years (McGrew 2010). Damage to health has been pointed out by social and medical opponents but tobacco has also been a strong source of State and federal revenue. These regulations have prohibited smoking in various places and times but not throughout the United States. Opponents push for regulations to suppress the habit and addiction. Promoters focus on the regulation of the quantity and quality of products. The strongest movement against tobacco was waged by Lucy Gaston of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in the 1890s. She succeeded in lobbying for the passage of legislations between 1895 and 1921, favoring her cause. These banned the sale of cigarettes in 14 States and smoking in public places by women. The National Education Association pooled efforts to protect the young from cigarette smoking by stressing the high ideals of American manhood. The National Congress of the PTA committed itself to the same mission. The sad experience of the Prohibition, the spread of the tobacco industry, the need for new sources of State revenue and the established popularity of cigarette smoking altogether frustrated the rising opposition force. Federal income from high tobacco sales went higher because of increased cigarette use and advanced rates. By 1937, the 14 States immediately imposed taxes on cigarettes. By 1950, all 50 States banned the sale of cigarettes to minors. Today, the sale of cigarettes is restricted to age 18 in most States, later lowered to age 15 in 11 States. The Tobacco Merchants Association places the liability on the vendor and donor of cigarettes (McGrew).
Advertising to Children
A specifically vulnerable sector to tobacco advertising consists of children. Psychologist Allen Kanner and his team went up against fellow psychologists who use psychological knowledge help marketers target children more effectively (Clay 2000).. Kanner and his team believed that this trend would spread materialistic values among the young. It would also encourage a wrong view that they would be inferior if they did not possess many new products. According to Kanner and his team, many studies are available in public libraries on how make effective ads but not one addressing the impact of advertising on children. They argued that psychologists who help advertisers achieve their ends are manipulative and drive in the capitalistic message. They viewed this as unethical. As it is, advertising and advertisers seem to succeed. According to a marketing expert, children under 12 today are already spending $28 billion a year in response to advertising. Teenagers are spending $100 billion and their parents, $249 billion for the same purpose. Kanner and his team said tobacco companies can always access basic research findings and theories available in public libraries. They can then use these and psychological principles to sway very young and vulnerable minds (Clay).
The Attorneys-General of 46 States in 1998 signed a Master Settlement Agreement
with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States (King & Siegel 2001). It was to prohibit tobacco advertising in media catering to those younger than 18. The companies were to refrain from directly or indirectly advertising, promoting or marketing tobacco products. In September 2000, Philip Morris announced that it would restrict its advertising to magazines whose young readership was less than 15% or fewer than 2 million readers aged 12-17 (King & Siegel).
A review was conducted on the data provided by Competitive Media Reporting of New York on cigarette advertising in youth-oriented magazines between 1995 and 2000 Mediamark Research provided data on readers aged 12-17 and adult readers for each magazine (King & Siegel 2001). Results showed that the Master Agreement did not have substantial effect on advertising in magazines. Before and after the 1998 signing, tobacco companies continued to allocate a huge part of their budgets precisely for such magazines than for adult brands. They, in fact, maintained a consistently high level of exposure among young people. Despite restrictions to these magazines, young readers could not be significantly prevented from access to such advertising. This is so, even if they represent less than 15% of the readership of these magazines (King & Siegel).
R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard's advertising remained high in youth-oriented magazines in the first two years after the signing of the Master Settlement. Even the voluntary withdrawal of Philip Morris did not affect the substantial exposure of young readers to cigarette advertising in these magazines. Findings of this study suggested the stronger policies to fulfill the intention of the Master Settlement. These policies should be drawn from a careful analysis of the extent and frequency of cigarette advertising instead of the undependable criterion of percentage of young readers (King & Siegel). #
AMA. Ethical Norms and Values for Marketers. American Marketing Association, 2010.
Retrieved on October 20, 2010 from http://www.marketingpower.com/About AMA/Pages/StatementofEthics.aspex
Clay, Rebecca A. Advertising to Children: Is It Ethical? Vol 3 # 8 Monitor on Psychology: American Psychological Association, 2000 Retrieved on October 20,
2010 from http://www.apa.org/monitor/sep00/advertising.aspx