Wednesday, February 7, 2018

What! Me Market Smoking to Kids?

Camel cigarette girls on the prowl today for young victims in La Candelaria.
I was cycling across the Plaza del Periodista this afternoon when we came upon this phenomenon: Four attractive young women dressed identically carrying marketing displays. But these weren't the cell phone or cable TV hawkers one often sees, but cigarette pushers offering Camel smokes.

Colombia signed the World Health Organization's global treaty on tobacco, which is supposed to end marketing to youth; and Camel manufacturer RJ Reynolds' own website boasts about its code supposedly safeguarding against marketing to people who are under 21, or utilizing models who are younger than 25.

So, why are these young women, whose very appearance associates smoking with youth, healthfulness, sex appeal and social success doing offering cigarettes, with their accompanying scourges of addiction, lung disease and heart attacks, in a neighborhood full of high school and university students?

Of course, the tobacco companies will swear that their marketing doesn't try to hook anybody, but only to make smokers switch brands. Who believes that?

Camel cigarette packs in a display case (which is NOT advertising)
beside candies on a Bogotá sidewalk.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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