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The Truth About the Tobacco Industry: A.K.A. “Big Tobacco”
money
  • Big Tobacco has been hiding the truth about tobacco and lying to smokers for a long time.  As late as 1994 the tobacco industry was still telling the public that cigarettes were not addictive. Documents show, however, that these companies have known that cigarettes are addictive since the 1950’s.
  • Tobacco products are the only legal product that when used as directed, will kill nearly half of its users.
  • Big Tobacco depends on young people to replace their long time users who quit or die from using tobacco.
bullseye

Are You A Target of "Big Tobacco?"

  • Big Tobacco targets young adults. Young adults tend to be less worried about the long-term health effects of smoking. They are also able to purchase cigarettes for the first time at age 19.
  • Once a young adult has chosen “their” brand, it ensures that their brand will make a long term profit for the tobacco industry.

“Light” or “Mild”

  • Big Tobacco sells products labelled “light” or “mild” knowing that they are just as harmful as regular, full strength brands. These “light” or “mild” products deliver the same amounts of cancer-causing poisons as regular cigarettes.

For more information, check out this Info Pack.

Smoking in Movies
  • It’s now against the law for Big Tobacco to pay actors to smoke in movies or TV shows.
  • Tobacco use often appears to look cool in movies and on TV. 
  • Research shows that the more young people see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start smoking themselves. 

For more info, check out www.smokefreemovies.ca

Fact: Big Tobacco paid Sylvester Stallone $500,000 to smoke in five of his movies (including Rambo and Rocky IV).


Exploitation
  • In 2010, the cigarette maker Philip Morris International (PMI) was forced to admit that children were working up to 12 hours a day on tobacco farms that sold all of their tobacco to PMI. Some of these children were as young as 10 years old.
  • Adults and children work up to 18 hours a day during the high season of tobacco farming, usually in July or August, when temperatures are also hottest.
  • These workers earn pennies a day, and live in poor conditions with no clean water, toilets, or electricity.
  • Tobacco is picked by hand, and it’s dangerous work. During a single day, one worker is exposed to as much nicotine as in 36 cigarettes.
  • All tobacco workers are at risk for Green Tobacco Sickness, where nicotine is absorbed through the skin from contact with tobacco leaves. The illness causes nausea, vomiting, headaches, muscle weakness and dizziness.  Children are at a higher risk due to their small body size.


man working tobacco fields

Tobacco and the Environment
cigarette butt pile


  • Cigarette butts are a major source of litter. Butts never completely break down.  Worldwide, it’s estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarettes are thrown away every year.
  • Cigarette butts on the ground end up in lakes and rivers, where they pollute the water with toxic chemicals like arsenic and lead. 
  • Cigarette butts are poisonous to animals when eaten.  A small pet can get very sick or even die from eating just 2 or 3 cigarette butts.
  • About 9 million acres of forest are cut down every year just to provide land to grow more tobacco.
  • Tobacco is grown in over 125 countries. If tobacco crops were replaced by food crops, 10 to 20 million people could be fed every year.