Think of it as corporate image enhancement
When it comes to e-cigarettes, large tobacco companies are suddenly stepping up warnings about their own products, the New York Times reports.
“Nicotine is addictive and habit forming, and is very toxic by inhalation, in contact with the skin, or if swallowed,” reads a warning on packets of e-cigarette made by Altria, the company that manufactures Marlboro cigarettes.
Industry experts and critics say the warnings are serving as a legal safeguard or a corporate image-enhancer.
“Is this part of a noble effort for the betterment of public health, or a cynical business strategy? I suspect the latter,” said Dr. Robert K. Jackler, a professor and researcher on e-cigarette advertising at the Stanford School of Medicine.
MarkTen, a prominent e-cigarette brand, features a 100-word warning that, among other things, reiterates that e-cigarettes are not a way to wean oneself off cigarettes. This warning also appears on Reynolds American’s Vuse e-cigarettes.
According to Altria spokesman William Phelps, the MarkTen warning is created with a “a goal to openly and honestly communicate about health effects.”
“Why wouldn’t you warn about ‘very toxic’ nicotine on your cigarettes, when you do so on e-cigarettes?” is Jackler’s only question.
According to the Times, experts say the strategy is low-risk for the big tobacco companies because many people don’t read the warnings anyway.
By Rita Katz in Reuters
By Malcolm Harris in Al Jazeera America
By the editorial staff of the Economist
By Leon Neyfakh in the Boston Globe
By Neil Shah in the Wall Street Journal
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.
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Antismoking messaging works differently depending on who's watching, a new study shows
For years, the U.S. government has gone back and forth about whether or not it’s legal to force tobacco companies to use images of cancerous lungs and other graphic pictures on their cigarette packaging. The assumption, of course, is that the images will terrify any smoker into kicking the habit.
However, a new study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research shows that the graphic tactic might not work on all smokers. The effectiveness of antismoking messaging depends on the attitude of the smoker.
Researchers from the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center studied 740 smokers to figure out what type of antismoking campaigns worked best. They discovered that messages that stress the benefits of quitting, like “quitting smoking reduces the risk of death due to tobacco,” were more effective at getting smokers to quit if those smokers thought that quitting would be very hard. The more graphic and negative ads like “smoking can kill you” tended to work best for smokers who thought they could quit whenever they wanted.
One of the reasons motivating messaging worked best among smokers who viewed quitting as a challenge could be that they’re already well aware of the health risks. On the other hand, the researchers speculate that loss-framed messaging — the kind that focuses on the negative consequences of continuing a behavior — worked better for smokers who felt they had more agency in their cessation because the negative ads built up motivation to stop.
Ultimately, the researchers believe that having a mixture of various messaging strategies is the best way to appeal to a broad range of smokers, and that currently there are far more negative messages than positive ones.
That’s not to say that scary ads don’t work. For a couple years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has poured resources into an intensive ad campaign called “Tips From Former Smokers” which features real former smokers who have experienced serious setbacks from their habit, like no longer being able to speak properly or having a baby too early. During past campaigns, the CDC has said that their quit lines experience 80% more activity when the ads are running compared with the weeks before.
Terrifying ads aren’t going away anytime soon, but mixing in more motivating messages might appeal to would-be quitters of all kinds.
Changes corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health+ READ ARTICLE
CVS announced Wednesday that it has yanked cigarettes and other tobacco products from shelves at 7,600 stores nationwide, beating its original goal for ending cigarette sales by almost a month.
The retailer also changed its corporate name from CVS Caremark to CVS Health, a name the company believes “reflects our broader health care commitment.”
CVS pledged tobacco products would be off its shelves by Oct. 1 when it announced its plan to stop selling cigarettes in February, but they’re gone three weeks early.
“Every day, all across the country, customers and patients place their trust in our 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners to serve their health care needs,” Helena B. Foulkes, President of CVS/pharmacy said in a statement posted on the company’s website. “The removal of cigarette and other tobacco products from our stores is an important step in helping Americans to quit smoking and get healthy.”
“We’re the first national pharmacy chain to step up and take this action,” CEO Larry Merlo said in a video accompanying the original statement announcing the halt in sales. “Tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered.”
Merlo also said the company plans to launch a “robust smoking cessation program” next year, to help the 7 in 10 smokers who say the way to quit achieve that goal.
The move comes as CVS is increasingly trying to rebrand itself as a health-care company, with in-pharmacy clinics and partnerships with hospitals. Now that cigarettes have disappeared, customers can expect to see new signage and an “enhanced selection” of nicotine replacement products.
First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made public health a key priority during her time in the White House, thanked CVS in a Twitter message.
Mayor Rob Ford reportedly voted against the ban
The Toronto City Council voted 36-2 in favor of banning e-cigarettes from all city workplaces on Monday.
According to a Toronto Sun reporter, Mayor Rob Ford was one of the two votes against the ban.
The vote was part of a marathon session for the city council which could last several days and will address some 400 items from e-cigarettes to traffic lights.
Toronto is not the first major city in North America to issue a prohibition on e-cigarettes. In March, Los Angeles became the third city after New York and Chicago to outlaw e-cigarettes at the office, and Philadelphia followed soon after.
But the L.A. ban extended further than city workplaces with bans in place for bars, restaurants, and parks. In New York, e-cigarette smokers cannot vape anywhere where conventional smoking is also banned, and in Chicago, there’s an indoor smoking ban in place. Smaller cities have also taken up the issue, and it’s expected that more cities will consider similar bans.
Health Canada, the government’s public health department, advised Canadians not to buy e-cigarettes as long ago as 2009, CTV News reports, but there are no formal prohibitions on the sale of e-cigarettes unless they are “expressly intended” for nicotine delivery. That allows many retailers to circumvent a crackdown by regulators.
Earlier this year, the FDA said it would increase its regulation over e-cigarettes, and on Sunday night, the American Heart Association called for stricter oversight, especially when it comes to marketing to kids.
Less Diet Coke, more scarves
With the financial collapse of 2008 behind us, and an economic recovery underway, buying trends for women have had their own kind of renaissance. Over the past five years, key fads have gone by the wayside (so long, diet foods) while other purchasing trends have taken center stage (hello, student loans!) “All put together, it looks like there’s a bit more empowerment and independence for women,” says Anita Gandhi, Vice President of Strategic Services at Experian Marketing Services, which provided the data.
Turns out, women are now spending more money on experiential events like going out to concerts or watching live performances, which Gandhi attributes to the increase in financial security. “In 2009, people didn’t have a lot of discretionary spending,” she says, “and if they did they were more concerned about [whether] they were spending their money on frivolous things.”
So what day-to-day products are women ditching? Here’s the breakdown:
1) Pantyhose of any kind
Sorry, Kate Middleton, not everyone is on board with your nude pantyhose trend. In the last five years, control-top pantyhose purchases have plummeted by 47%, regular pantyhose purchases have dropped 40%, and knee-high buying is down 59%. Women seem to be ditching hose in favor of tights– those are up 18% since 2009. Because newsflash: black tights look great with anything.
2) Diet foods
We’ve seen some serious pushback against chemical-laden “diet foods” in the last five years: sales of sugar-free foods are down 15%, fat-free foods have dipped 17% (low-fat is down 13%,) and low-cholesterol foods are down 22%. But that doesn’t mean women are any less health-conscious than before. Instead, the definition of “healthy” has evolved, says Gandhi. Now women are gravitating toward natural and organic foods, which have seen a 10% uptick in sales.
3) Diet cola
Remember when women downed diet sodas like water? Not anymore. Diet cola sales have plummeted 21% since 2009, and non-cola diet soda sales have dropped even more, by 26%. We hate to break it to you, Taylor Swift, but those numbers include Diet Coke. “People saw diet soda as a healthy alternative,” says Gandhi. “You could drink soda [thinking] it doesn’t have the calories and sugar.” Yet in the past five years, we’ve seen an influx of information touting the “negative impacts of even diet soda, the chemicals in it,” says Gandhi. And then there’s the bad press brought about by anti-soda campaigns like the one Mayor Michael Bloomberg backed in New York City, which certainly didn’t help soda sales.
4) Cigarettes and anti-smoking products
Both cigarettes and products that help people quit smoking (like patches or gum) have seen sales dip in the last five years: Cigarettes are down 13%, and anti-smoking products have sunk by 18%. Since fewer women smoke than men (only about 16% of American women smoke, compared to more than 20% of men) and since smoking overall has been on the decline since 2005, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
5) Hair products
Apparently the natural look is in, because women are buying less styling cream and fewer home perms and relaxers than they did in 2009. Both styling purchases have gone down by 14% in the last five years. Perhaps this is the resurgence of the boho-chic? Cue the flowing braids.
6) Business casual: blazers, skirts, slacks
Are offices getting more casual in the age of the hoodie-tech-genius? Maybe so, since purchases of business casual attire have dropped in the last five years. Women are buying fewer blazers and suit jackets (sales have plummeted by 32%,) skirts (down 18%) and business slacks (down 24%, but that doesn’t include jeans, which, we hate to inform you, aren’t business casual.)
On the other hand, dresses, scarves, and boots are on the upswing. Dress purchases are up 15%, boots are up 44%, and scarves are up 68% compared to five years ago. Moral of the story: scarves are back!
7) Non-scarf accessories: gloves, purses, watches, sunglasses
Women also seem to be spending less on accessories that aren’t scarves. Glove purchases are down by 25%, watches are down 15%, and fashionable sunglasses (not Rx) are down 26%. Even purses saw a 14% drop. Did we mention that scarves are back?
Despite the runaway success of The Fault in Our Stars, book purchases are still down among women. Paperback, hardcover, and audiobook sales dropped 13% in the last five years.
So what are women doing with all the money they’re saving on Diet Coke, pantyhose, cigarettes and suit jackets? Having a blast, apparently. Here are the products that female purchasers have gravitated to in the last five years:
1) Healthy moderation
Along with the 10% rise in natural and organic food purchases, women spent more money on gym memberships (up 26%) but also bought more chocolate (up 8%.)
2) Fun stuff
Concerts and music festival ticket purchases saw an 11% rise since 2009, while live dance performances had a 9% spike and comedy club tickets went up 8%. In other words, women just want to have some fun.
3) Big financial decisions
The majority of home equity loans, new car loans, and U.S. savings bonds are now owned by women (51%, 52% and 54%, respectively) and 59% of personal loans for education are made to women. Meanwhile, only 48% of women say they’re the sole decision-maker when it comes to buying food products, and only 49% say they decide which household goods to buy, down from 51% and 52% in 2009. The result: women are making more of the big financial decisions, but fewer small, household ones.
So if you’re planning on putting on your dress, tights, boots and scarf, munching some chocolate, checking on your home equity loan and heading to a music festival, you’re right on trend.
"According to this survey, more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette," is just one of the phrases we no longer hear in commercials+ READ ARTICLE
Earlier this week, a $27.4 billion deal was announced that will merge two of the largest American tobacco companies, Reynolds American and Lorillard.
And while it’s hard to remember the days when Camels were advertised as the most preferred cigarettes by doctors, a small segment of the industry is quickly growing: e-cigarettes.
Above, take a quick look at the history of America’s complicated relationship with the addictive habit.
Reynolds American announced Tuesday that it would buy the third largest tobacco company in the U.S., Lorillard for $27.4 billion
Faced with a steady decline in cigarette sales, Reynolds American Inc. announced Tuesday that it would buy the third largest tobacco company in the U.S., Lorillard, Inc. for $27.4 billion.
The deal will make Reynolds American the second largest tobacco company in the U.S. after Altria Inc., maker of Marlboro cigarettes.
The companies will merge Reynold’s flagship brands, Camel, Pall Mall and American Spirit cigarettes, with Lorillard’s portfolio of Newport menthol-flavored cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Those two sectors are isolated areas of growth in an industry that has seen U.S. cigarette consumption decline by 4% last year, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The variety of flavors of tobacco makes hookah attractive and easier to conceal from parents, study found
Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of high school seniors smoke waterpipes, or “hookahs”, according to a new study from New York University (NYU) researchers.
The new report, which is published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at a survey of 15,000 high school seniors from 130 public and private high schools nationwide and focused on a population of 5,540 students who were asked about their hookah use between 2010 and 2012.
The researchers found that about one in five seniors reported smoking hookah–waterpipes used to smoke specially-made tobacco–in the last year. And smoking hookah was more common among teens in big cities.
“What we find most interesting is that students of higher socioeconomic status appear to be more likely to use hookah,” said study author Joseph J. Palamar, an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC). “Surprisingly, students with more educated parents or higher personal income are at high risk for use.”
Cigarette smoking rates among young people are down, with a recent CDC report showing rates of cigarette smoking among high school students has dropped to its lowest level in 22 years. But public health workers are also worried about other tobacco and nicotine products like cigars, hookah, and e-cigarettes. A 2012 report showed a 123% increase in the use of other smokable tobacco products like cigars and pipes.
The researchers note, however, that smoking hookah doesn’t usually happen as often as cigarettes, and tends to happen more occasionally. Still, the researchers are worried about “hookah pens,” smoking devices similar to e-cigs which makes smoking hookah simpler. “These nifty little devices are likely to attract curious consumers, possibly even non-cigarette smokers,” said Palamar. Hookah tobacco tends to come in different flavors, and may be easier to conceal.