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The tobacco industry is a master of deceit15

The tobacco industry is built on manipulation and lies.16 Big Tobacco spends billions each year on slick PR campaigns,17 political lobbying,18 and funding their own scientific research so they can continue to rake in profits and skirt accountability for the damage they cause.19 They manipulated the nicotine levels in tobacco products to increase addiction.20 And when lung cancer was linked to smoking, they created filters to scam people into thinking their cigarettes were safer.2122 Now, this dishonest industry says vapes can help people who smoke quit,23 even as Big Tobacco creates a youth vaping epidemic.24 Would you trust them?

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Story of Inequity

When manipulative and deceitful marketing is disguised as empathy and support,25 it’s easier to hook communities of color and low-income populations.

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Tobacco industry’s damage

The tobacco industry currently spends billions each year on slick marketing tactics1 and political influence2 so they can profit off death and disease.
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Even for people who don’t use tobacco, there can be deadly consequences.3
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The industry calls kids their “replacement customers.”4 Big Tobacco sentences them to a lifetime of addiction and disease.
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This racist and unjust industry has strategically targeted certain communities with deadly products and manipulative messaging.5
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No one’s safe from the environmental damage6 and health risks7891011 from toxic tobacco waste and its plastic pollution.12
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lady in a garden wearing a head scarf

Hold the industry accountable

California has already protected people from other harmful products,1314 and it’s time to hold the tobacco industry to the same standards.
  1. Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2020. Washington, D.C.: Federal Trade Commission. 2021.
  2. OpenSecrets. Industry Profile: Tobacco. Opensecrets.org. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/industries/summary?cycle=2021&id=A02. Accessed March 16, 2022.
  3. Office on Smoking and Health (US). The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2006.
  4. RJ Reynolds. Younger Adult Smokers: Strategies and Opportunities. https://www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu/docs/rkvk0045. 1984 February 29.
  5. Anderson SJ. Marketing of menthol cigarettes and consumer perceptions: a review of tobacco industry documents. Tob Control. 2011;20 Suppl 2(Suppl_2):ii20-ii28. doi:10.1136/tc.2010.041939.
  6. Break Free From Plastic. Branded Vol. III: Demanding corporate accountability for plastic pollution. 2020.
  7. Poma A, Vecchiotti G, Colafarina S, et al. In Vitro Genotoxicity of Polystyrene Nanoparticles on the Human Fibroblast Hs27 Cell Line. Nanomaterials (Basel). 2019;9(9):1299. Published 2019 Sep 11. doi:10.3390/nano9091299.
  8. Zarus GM, Muianga C, Hunter CM, Pappas RS. A review of data for quantifying human exposures to micro and nanoplastics and potential health risks. Sci Total Environ. 2021;756:144010. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144010.
  9. Jacob H, Besson M, Swarzenski PW, Lecchini D, Metian M. Effects of Virgin Micro- and Nanoplastics on Fish: Trends, Meta-Analysis, and Perspectives. Environ Sci Technol. 2020;54(8):4733-4745. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b05995.
  10. Ziv-Gal A, Flaws JA. Evidence for bisphenol A-induced female infertility: a review (2007-2016). Fertil Steril. 2016;106(4):827-856. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2016.06.027.
  11. Campanale C, Massarelli C, Savino I, Locaputo V, Uricchio VF. A Detailed Review Study on Potential Effects of Microplastics and Additives of Concern on Human Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(4):1212. Published 2020 Feb 13. doi:10.3390/ijerph17041212.
  12. Belzagui F, Buscio V, Gutiérrez-Bouzán C, Vilaseca M. Cigarette butts as a microfiber source with a microplastic level of concern. Science of The Total Environment. 2021;762:144165. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.144165.
  13. Governor Newsom Signs Legislation Making California First in the Nation to Ban Toxic Chemicals in Cosmetics [press release]. gov.ca.gov. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2020/09/30/governor-newsom-signs-legislation-making-california-first-in-the-nation-to-ban-toxic-chemicals-in-cosmetics/. Published September 30, 2020. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  14. Landmark California law bans 'forever chemicals' in products for infants, children [press release]. ewg.org. https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news-release/2021/10/landmark-california-law-bans-forever-chemicals-products-infants. Published October 5, 2021. Accessed March 23, 2022.
  15. Brownell KD, Warner KE. The perils of ignoring history: Big Tobacco played dirty and millions died. How similar is Big Food?. Milbank Q. 2009;87(1):259-294. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00555.x.
  16. Brownell KD, Warner KE. The perils of ignoring history: Big Tobacco played dirty and millions died. How similar is Big Food?. Milbank Q. 2009;87(1):259-294. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00555.x.
  17. Federal Trade Commission. Cigarette Report for 2018. Issued December 2019.
  18. Tobacco Lobbying Profile • OpenSecrets. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/industries/summary?cycle=2021&id=A02. Accessed March 16, 2022.
  19. De R. Juul Bought an Issue of a Science Journal. Here’s What the uhh... Studies Say. VICE. https://www.vice.com/en/article/93yney/juul-bought-an-issue-of-a-science-journal-heres-what-the-uhh-studies-say. Published July 9, 2021. Accessed march 15, 2022.
  20. Truth Initiative. How Big Tobacco made cigarettes more addictive. truthintiative.org. https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/harmful-effects-tobacco/how-big-tobacco-made-cigarettes-more-addictive. Published January 23, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2022.
  21. Proctor RN. Golden Holocaust: Origins of the Cigarette Catastrophe and the Case for Abolition. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 2011.
  22. Harris B. The intractable cigarette 'filter problem'. Tob Control. 2011;20 Suppl 1(Suppl_1):i10-i16. doi:10.1136/tc.2010.040113.
  23. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA warns JUUL Labs for marketing unauthorized modified risk tobacco products, including in outreach to youth [press release]. fda.gov. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-warns-juul-labs-marketing-unauthorized-modified-risk-tobacco-products-including-outreach-youth. Published September 9, 2019. Accessed March 15, 2022.
  24. U.S. Surgeon General. Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use Among Youth. e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov. 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.
  25. Brownell KD, Warner KE. The perils of ignoring history: Big Tobacco played dirty and millions died. How similar is Big Food?. Milbank Q. 2009;87(1):259-294. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0009.2009.00555.x.