Why would cigarette firms tell kids not to smoke? ASH exposes the story behind the latest PR smokescreen

Wednesday 18 April 2001


For immediate release: Wednesday 18 April


Whywould cigarette firms want to tell kids not to smoke? ASH exposes the realreasons behind the latest tobacco PR smokescreen.


Following the announcementyesterday that 3 major tobacco companies [1] are funding a new advertisingcampaign with the supposed aim of stopping underage smoking, ASH responded byrevealing the real reasons behind a cynical PR stunt.


ASH has amassed considerable <ahref=”http: www.ash.org.uk=”” html=”” advspo=”” prmenu.html”=””>evidence<spanstyle=’color:blue’>, which it published last autumn [2], to show thatwhen tobacco companies pay for this kind of advertising, their true motives arequite different to those they would have us believe.


ASH’s Public Affairs Manager,John Connolly said: “This is a very clever piece of cynical public relations.We know that the tobacco companies rely on young people to replace the 120,000people who are killed by smoking every year. When these companies tell youngpeople not to smoke, they are really saying ‘Hey kids, smoking’s forgrown-ups’, with a sly nod and wink. Nothing is more likely persuade teenagersto smoke than adults telling them they are not allowed to.


“These companies just want tolook responsible. They want to give the impression that they are capable ofregulating themselves, and that proper regulation ­ like a total ban onadvertising ­ isn’t necessary.


”At best, this campaign will have noeffect on underage smoking. At worst, these ads will persuade teenagers tostart smoking. The only conclusion is that tobacco companies have no businessgetting involved in this sort of campaign.”




[1]  Philip Morris,British American Tobacco and Japan International Tobacco

[2]  Danger! PR in the playground:<spanlang=en-gb style=”font-size:11.0pt;font-family:Arial;”>Tobacco industry youth anti-smoking programmes.






John Connolly, ASH.  020 7739 5902 or 07702 817477 (mobile)

Clive Bates, ASH.   020 7739 5902  or 077 6879 1237 (mobile)

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