Up to six million to be killed by tobacco this year!
The World Health Organization has warned that up to 6 million people, worldwide, will be killed by smoking tobacco this year and this is likely to increase to 8 million by 2030.
Despite these warnings tobacco companies still continue to market their products irresponsibly, particularly in emerging nations, a fact borne out by the statistic that 80% of new smokers are from developing countries. In India, China and Indonesia smoking now kills more people than Aids, TB and Malaria combined.
An example of a developing nations struggle against tobacco is Egypt. Advertising is banned on TV and radio; however, there are many routes to market that have been left open. For example, sampling is still legal as is the distribution of free tobacco products. Magazine advertising is another area that is frequently exploited by tobacco companies and there are no restrictions of sales to under 18's. What is clearly demonstrated is that if there is an opportunity to market tobacco companies will continue to work the available areas and encourage the sales of their products.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) are also concerned that cigarette companies are continuing to target specific sectors of the market. Brands like Vogue Perle, Virginia Slims and Glamour are slimmer cigarettes that, it can be argued, are specifically aimed at the younger, female market.
The brand names conjure up the world of fashion and the packaging and slimmer style cigarettes have proven popular with female users.
This is confirmed in Russia where sampling is heavily used as a weapon to lure new smokers. The activity seems to have worked; in 2009 Russia became the biggest world market for slim cigarettes and between 2006 and 2009 the sales of slim cigarettes jumped by 91 percent.
British American Tobacco have responded to claims that they are targeting young females by stating that, "Our marketing is not aimed at encouraging anybody to start smoking, whatever their gender or age, it is about persuading existing male and female adult smokers to choose our brands and not those of our competitors".
Of course it is BAT who are now developing their own alternative to cigarettes in direct competition to electronic cigarettes. The irony of a tobacco company creating a nicotine delivery alternative is something that has not been lost on the electronic cigarette industry.
Dermot Ryan of leading electronic cigarette brand E-Lites has openly stated that he does not believe there is a place for tobacco in the alternative industry. 'Ethically, I cannot see how companies who have marketed tobacco products aggressively in the past, can at the same time champion anti-tobacco devices. My view is that we are trying to provide a viable alternative to tobacco and I am not sure that a company like BAT can do the same thing when their chief business is tobacco. It creates confusion in the alternative market and potentially damages the alternative industries reputation. As we are affecting the sales of tobacco products it could be argued that this is their motivation!