Throughout the tobacco industry’s checkered history, one theme has remained constant. Whether marketing itself as a symbol of independence or embedding its product in popular culture, the tobacco industry has sought to portray itself as an embodiment of American culture. Promoting the values of freedom and self-determination, the tobacco industry has successfully positioned itself as a uniquely American phenomenon.
The industry uses websites such as Citizens for Tobacco Rights to fight public health campaigns and taxation of tobacco products. This website is sponsored by Phillip Morris USA and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company among others.
Today, public health and wellness campaigns are beginning to chip away at more than a century’s worth of deceptive and manipulative marketing tactics. As regulation and public education erode tobacco’s popularity in the United States, tobacco companies have pursued a global strategy. According to the World Health Organization, unless current trends can be reversed, tobacco will likely kill more than a billion people in the 21st Century. By working at the local, state and national levels, citizens and public health workers can educate the public about tobacco’s dangers and lessen the impact of this global health pandemic.