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“Don't smoke,” buy Marlboro

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7193.1296 (Published 08 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1296
  1. William D Novelli, president
  1. Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids, Washington DC, USA

    The annals of literature are full of instances of misanthropes, knaves, and other antisocial characters who come to see the error of their ways and spend their declining years doing good works and helping their fellows. We were therefore intrigued by an announcement late last year by tobacco giant Philip Morris that it was prepared to spend $100m a year in a US campaign to reduce young people's smoking. Was this, at last, an honest attempt by Philip Morris to end its seductive marketing practices that have led to the tobacco addiction of millions of children and teenagers around the world?

    Philip Morris has produced a series of television advertisements entitled “Think. Don't Smoke” and has made them the centrepiece of its antismoking campaign for teenagers. The advertisements tell children that they have a choice whether to smoke. Do they work?

    The answer is probably not, according to a study released earlier this month (Wall Street Journal 7 April). Focus groups of 12-16 year olds …

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