The tobacco industry has been increasingly under fire within modernized countries during the past couple decades. Tobacco companies such as Marlboro have had to drastically change how they advertise and market their cigarettes, and adapt to ever-increasing pressure from health organizations and governments. Smoking has tremendous health consequences, and poses a huge financial burden on health institutions and governments all over the world.
Recently, tobacco companies have yet another advertising obstacle to overcome. It is now a federal law that tobacco can’t be sold to individuals under the age of 18. Also, effective June 22, tobacco companies are no longer to market their cigarettes as “light” or “mild.” The main reason behind this is because, after extensive research, it was discovered that a majority of individuals believed cigarettes marked “light” or “mild” were less unhealthy compared to regular cigarettes.
The truth of the matter is that “light” cigarettes are just as bad as regular cigarettes when comparing death rates and disease. However, to get around this, many tobacco companies are now marketing their products with different packaging. An example of how the tobacco companies are adapting to this new law is by using different color packaging. The tobacco company Salem uses a dark green packaging for their standard cigarettes, and a lighter green package for their light cigarettes. The real question behind all of these recently introduced tobacco restrictions though is, are these laws really necessary, and are they too restricting or severe?
I personally only smoke on rare occasions, but I have done many college research papers about tobacco companies. As a marketing major, it is fascinating to me to study how a tobacco company can market something like cigarettes. Tobacco companies are masters at advertising. How else could they sell a product to people that individuals don’t get any direct benefit from, all the while having the knowledge that the product has severe health consequences?
I believe that free speech is important, but, more importantly, I believe virtues such as honesty and compassion are even more important. False advertising is illegal under the FTC, and tobacco companies should not be exempt from this. There will always be a market for those who want to smoke, but tobacco companies should not be allowed to use false advertising to sell a dangerous product. The new tobacco restriction laws introduced recently are a step forward for humanity, and a step back for big tobacco companies.