Quitting Aid Ads Silent
On Smoking Harms
Have you ever wondered why advertisements for nicotine replacement products (NRT), Zyban and Chantix or Champix never mention any harms caused by smoking? Think about it. Have you ever once heard any quitting aid advertisement say that "smoking causes lung cancer" or that "smoking can kill you," "so you need to go out and buy our product?" Why not?
Since about 1984 the pharmaceutical industry has had an agreement with the cigarette industry not to directly attack smoking or try to get all smokers to quit, but to only market quitting aids to those wanting to quit, without being anti-smoking when doing so.
This is essentially a non-compete marketing partnership that creates an artificial marketing climate that, amazingly, totally ignores the importance of quitting. Clearly, the purpose of the agreement is to protect tobacco industry sales.
My primary concern is the impact of this agreement upon smokers still in bondage. Most smokers rightfully believe that the pharmaceutical industry is part of the health care industry. They believe that if it were true that smoking claims roughly half of all smokers that the health care industry would warn them. Does pharmaceutical industry neglect of its health education obligations foster a false sense of smoking safety in smokers?
Although few smokers have consciously noticed the absence of health warnings in quitting product advertisements, trust in the medications industry likely operates on a unconscious level. If elevated to consciousness, the ingrained smoking trust rationalization might sound something like this: "If smoking was all that harmful, surely the pharmaceutical companies would tell me!"
The following once secret tobacco industry documents shed light on how the pharmaceutical industry-cigarette industry non-compete agreement was forged: