Tobacco industry looks for lifetime users to sustain its productivity.

Every industry is aware of challenges associated with sustaining its profit.

Industries like those that manufacture tobacco products, that is conscious that its products kill millions of its consumers each year, employs tactics that seeks to get younger generations hooked to ensure its business is sustained.

How does the tobacco industry do this?

A recent article published by shows some of the marketing strategies used by the tobacco industry to appeal to a variety of consumers through branding, advertising, easy accessibility including location, making big tobacco products easy to get. These tactics are mostly directed to the youth, minority racial groups and people who are likely to experience disproportionally poorer health. This Industry spends billions of dollars on advertising and marketing their products.

The Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) also published 10 ways outlining ways in which the industry targets the young generation through covert and deliberate designs to capture the youths’ interests and to ensure that the tobacco industry does not eventually run out of customers.

Below are some examples on what the tobacco industry has done to lure kids towards lifetime habit of smoking, as reported by the American Lung Association. These include:

  1. Candy-and fruit flavoured products
  2. Celebrity endorsement
  3. Misleading health claims
  4. Portraying smoking as just a game
  5. Through buy-one-get-one-free promotional activities
  6. Ads in popular magazines
  7. Product placement on TV and in movies
  8. Cartoon characters
  9. Instore promotions
  10. Replacement smokers

There is a need to stop the tobacco industry from using its market related tactics to prey on young children to gain profits. The World Health Organisation suggest that countries can protect children from industry exploitation through strict tobacco control laws including the regulation of e-cigarettes which have recently penetrated the market and already began enticing young children, drawing them to addiction. Civil society should therefore continue to monitor and call out industry whenever it employs these different tactics and advocate for implementation of WHO FCTC-compliant regulation in there various countries. This is particularly relevant in the African region, where the industry continues to interfere with effective policy development and implementation.  

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