MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- How does an industry that sells deadly, addictive products remain one of the leading consumer product industries in the world? The answer includes new products, savvy marketing and expensive public image campaigns. ClearWay Minnesota today released Unfiltered: A Revealing Look at Today's Tobacco Industry, a campaign that shines a light on how the tobacco industry has continued to evolve and thrive, despite billion dollar settlements designed to change the way the industry did business in the last decade.
"The tobacco industry hasn't gone away," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. "Don't be fooled – just because you may not see cigarette ads any more, it doesn't mean this industry isn't hard at work to lure new customers and keep those who are already hooked. It's more important than ever to highlight this continuing problem and the tobacco industry as its root cause."
The tobacco industry spends $12.8 billion annually to market its products nationwide, with nearly $200 million spent in Minnesota alone. And the consequences are devastating – 634,000 Minnesotans still smoke, and the state loses 5,500 lives and $2 billion in health care costs annually because of tobacco.
The full report is available at www.unfilteredmn.org, a new interactive website designed to expose the tobacco industry's practices by inviting Minnesotans to post comments, upload photos and share examples of tobacco marketing they find in their communities and throughout the state.
As Unfiltered reveals, the tobacco industry has fought the impact of regulations and good public policy by targeting vulnerable demographics, creating new products and using image campaigns to protect itself. As a result, the tobacco industry remains one of the most lucrative in the world.
"Minnesotans will be shocked when they discover that things like grape and chocolate flavored tobacco products are widely available throughout Minnesota," said Betsy Brock, Research Director for Association for Nonsmokers – Minnesota, a contributor to the report. "We're asking people to pay attention to what the industry is doing, because if we don't, we risk another generation of kids becoming addicted."
"The national smoking rate has not declined since 2004 and youth smokeless tobacco use is increasing," added Willoughby. "We ignore the tobacco industry at our own risk. For all our recent successes in Minnesota, tobacco is a problem that hasn't gone away."
Unfiltered contains information on:
- How tobacco still is glamorized for kids in popular movies and video games.
- Image campaigns that raise doubt about how harmful the tobacco industry really is.
- Addicting military personnel overseas by sending them free tobacco products.
- How candy flavors are added to tobacco products to appeal to young people.
- New smokeless products that are being developed in response to smoke-free laws.
- Aggressive marketing of cigarettes in countries where tobacco's harms are unknown.
The full report and summary are available at www.unfilteredmn.org.
About ClearWay Minnesota(SM)
ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, non-profit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit clearwaymn.org.
SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota