About 7 months ago, I wrote about cigarettes and alcohol, and today I’m gonna revisit cigarettes because of a recent email I got.
Before anything, a few points about cigarettes in the Philippines. Cigarettes are very cheap here in the Philippines, among the cheapest in the world, one site listed it as the 5th cheapest, but that may vary. A lot of young people now smoke here, and I’m sure in other countries as well, as I mentioned in my previous article about this. Advertising for cigarettes is everywhere around here, just go to a sari-sari store, you’ll find a ton of signs with cigarette ads on them.
Now, the email in question is about certain ads by Philip Morris International, who own Marlboro, that have been pretty controversial, and for good reason. The ads show things like writing a song, falling in love, going to a concert, etc. and are captioned with things like ‘Maybe never fell in love’ and others depending on the activity, along with ‘Be Marlboro’. Many have said that the ads appeal to a teenagers ‘search for identity’ and might influence them to start smoking. The ads are in about 50 countries, including the Philippines, and have been banned in Germany. Here, ads like this are pretty much everywhere, because the companies would give signs to sari-sari stores for free and that’s basically how they advertise their product here, and considering how many sari-sari stores are in the Philippines, it could be very effective.
The ads are said to target teenagers as young as 13 or 14 years old. One of the sites I looked at made a very good point about why they would target teens, it said that 1 in every 2 smokers die from a disease caused by his/her smoking, the cigarette companies need new smokers, and who better than teens? If they start young then they basically get hooked and so on. There was actually a campaign where you take a selfie with something like ‘Marlboro, stop marketing to kids’ or similar, and post it to Twitter or Facebook back in April. I got an email a few days ago about another campaign being started involving college and high school students, specifically athletes to join against the smoking ads.
The cigarette company has said that they didn’t target teens. I hope they didn’t, but even so, it does kind of target teens, even if they didn’t mean to, like the statement above, it appeals to teens because it seems ‘cool’, so of course they’ll try it and not be a ‘maybe’. I hope cigarette companies don’t do these kinds of ad (doubt it).
Just to note, I’m not against anyone smoking, as long as they are of legal age, because at the end of the day, it’s not my life, money, time, etc. Just don’t force me or anyone into it, and don’t smoke in my face (secondhand smoking), it’s rude and disgusting. In fact I have some friends who do smoke and I don’t really care about it because it’s their lives.