The Ohio state legislature has seized $230 million from to the state's Tobacco Prevention Foundation and diverted it other uses. In the late 1990s, Ohio and other states sued the major tobacco companies to recover billions of dollars spent treating sick smokers.
The Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals missed a great opportunity this week to hold the tobacco industry accountable for one of its worst marketing tactics -- positioning cigarette brands in response to smokers' medical concerns. The April 7, 2008, issue of the New York Times has an article about the dismissal of a huge, class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry that was brought by smokers of "light" cigarettes who claimed they were misled about the relative safety of "light" cigarettes compared to regular, "full flavor" cigarettes. The suit, and its dismissal by the court, brought to mind a little-recognized tobacco industry marketing survival tactic that weighs heavily on the public's perception of exactly what "light" means.
The tobacco industry has long had a remarkable ability to rescue itself from damaging health claims by turning allegations against its products into marketing opportunities. Inside the industry, the fact that cigarettes cause widespread illness and death is referred to as the "smoking and health" issue, or "S&H issue" for short. Tobacco marketers consider "S&H issues" to be little more than "external marketing forces" that require re-positioning of products, through changes in advertising copy strategy, so that smokers will get an illusion of safety from the dangers they perceive.
A rock cocaine cigarette filter? A cigarette that delivers birth control and sexual stimulant drugs to the smoker at the same time? A geriatric brand? All of these are actual ideas for new products and promotions that were recorded at cigarette company "brainstorming" meetings.
The lead author of the largest lung cancer screening study ever performed has come under fire for accepting cigarette company funding for the study. Dr.
MGM Mirage's new $8 billion CityCenter project is a massive 75 acre, 4,000-room hotel-casino complex with condos and retail space currently under construction in Las Vegas.
An article in the Independent links funding for the "2008 International Conference on Climate Change" held in New York earlier this month to tobacco and oil companies.