Sex, Lies and Cigarettes

Sex, Lies and Cigarettes

2011, Drugs  -   24 Comments
Ratings: 6.99/10 from 68 users.

In the spring of 2010 video of a smoking baby went viral and became an international sensation. When the laughter stopped the world moved on. But there's much more in this story then one child's cigarette addiction. If you thought that public health battle against tobacco was over, think again.

This is the story of how smoking decline in the West has fueled Big Tobacco’s hunt for new consumers in some of the poorest countries on Earth. They're doing everything in their power to take the same product, the same deceptive marketing practices, and transport them around the world.

Vanguard goes undercover to hear how Big Tobacco talks behind closed doors, and they take to the streets to meet the small band of activists fighting for change in the country where the overwhelming message is loud and clear: cigarettes are cool, cigarettes are fun, and cigarettes are sexy. They set out on a journey to find the world's most famous smoker and along the way they found a global health crisis in the making.

In Times Square, in the heart of New York City, you'll find advertising for just about everything. But, there is one product that's conspicuously absent from the bright lights and flashy billboards. Cigarette advertising has been all but snuffed out in United States. A single pack of smokes will set you back a whopping $12. New York City is now the most expensive place in the country to buy cigarettes. That's due largely to a hefty sin tax imposed by both the city and the state in an attempt to strongly discourage consumers from smoking. A far-cry from the way things used to be. It wasn't so long ago that America was Marlboro country.

Cigarettes are the only consumer product which when used as intended will kill half of its long term customers. The global health crisis persists and in fact the threat is greater than ever. Smoking, this century, will kill a billion people if we don't do something about it. One billion deaths and nearly 80% of those deaths will take place in the developing world. That's were Big Tobacco is headed in an effort to make up for lost revenue in the US and Europe. The industry is on the hunt for new consumers in some of the poorest countries on Earth.

For a westerner, stepping off the plane in Indonesia is, in some ways, like stepping back in time. The onslaught of cigarette advertisements really starts when you hit the streets. The kind of marketing that has largely disappeared from the West now blankets Indonesia. Ad after ad, tying cigarettes to images of independence, adventure, and most of all youth.

The ubiquity of cigarette ads is not limited to the capital city of Jakarta either. Even on the dirt roads of the country's many rural villages it's the one aspect of the Indonesian landscape that remains constant. For Big Tobacco Indonesia offers fertile and perhaps irresistible new territory with little or no government regulation of the tobacco industry. Indonesia is the new Marlboro country.

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24 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Jasmine Betty Rosado

    Weird picture

  2. Nick Maninang

    If they really want to stop this!!!! must stop manufacturing cigarette.......

  3. Manfruss

    It's actually rather sad to see what we do to each other in the name of making a buck. How people will lie on such mass scale to keep a profit. Some say its the business owner, others the share holders... it's everyone involved really.

  4. CaseDigidy

    I think its funny how everyone is complaining about smokers, probably while theyre standing next to a trailer spewing diesel fuel. Or eating some McGarbage. People stigmatize smokers cause its 'in' right now.

    1. sta8ce

      i agree. for ages i've scratched my head at the soccer moms screaming bloody murder at smokers - yet they sit outside their kids school in their gas guzzling suv (1 of 2, possibly 3 i might add) 2 to 3 times a day, 15 min. minimum, with heat or air condit. blasting (cause god knows jennifer and jason can't walk anywhere anymore) to drive them 5 blocks back home. ???.
      i could go on with these examples but why bother.
      no, blame the smokers....the collective *we* has to blame someone because it's much to difficult to think for oneself.

      like ann below me - just exactly why would you "assult a smoker very soon"? where is all the hate coming from. what is it they are doing to you? not themselves, but you? the odd wiff of smoke? that's no more irritating than smelling anything else you don't like to smell. i just don't get it. it's asinine.

  5. Ann

    This is such BS. (Boomberg) I specifically left NYC because of the smokers. I knew I'd end up in jail because you can't walk down the street and NOT be in someone smoke stream. It's all over the streets. I knew I would assault a smoker very soon. I moved out west.

  6. Steamlite E cigarette support

    there seems to be a math mystery here. if the advertising/promotional
    dollars of the "big tobacco" boys is "targeting kids", then why do 25%
    of male teens smoke, while 73% of adult males smoke? those couple of
    kids they showed were also smoking brands with the LEAST street

  7. John Defalque

    I can tolerate electronic cigarettes, even in an elevator.

  8. John Defalque

    Elevators shouldn't need a no smoking sign, but some @rseholes will never get that it's a confined space.Sometimes you see three smokers at a bus stop and you want to punch the cigarettes flat into their faces.

  9. John Defalque

    If I lived in the 50s, I would never eat out, go to a bar or any public space. China is like that now 1,000 smokers in an internet cafe-un fricken bearable! They say nicotine is a wonderful drug and that we should all use it, that may be so, but can we find a less offensive dielivery system? Are there no lollipops, gum, gel caps, patches, electronic cigs, vaporizers, suppositories, tea. I don't want to hate smokers, but they force me to carry a bandanna everywhere I go. I also give every passing smoker the finger. Even today, in Canada, smokers are amazed when I call security when I catch them smoking in an elevator-I should be legally allowed to assault anyone who smokes in an elevator.

    1. Klaus-bud Oracle-kaczor

      "I should be legally allowed to assault anyone who smokes in an elevator." There is something in this statement that sets off some warning bells concerning Mr. Dulfack. Some people are always trying to find an excuse to employ random violence and they are so dangerous in their thinking patterns that they believe this is a justifiable means to serve a worthy outcome here smoke free elevators. They are besotted with violent solutions for every minor slight that they are so clueless about how much like a terrorist they sound that they publicly announce their idiocy. And then there are those many violent brethern who will see this assault as a fair solution to smoke in an elevator.

    2. John Defalque

      I suppose you smoke-is it smart, is it healthy.I refuse to get into an elevator with a smoker because I know I would resort to violence, I stick my foot in the door and call the bldg's security and these stunned f--ks are amazed-stuck in the 50s. I don't want us to be like China or Indonesia.

    3. joe bloggs

      by smoking in the elevator the person in question is shortening john's life by passive smoking, the smoker will heal in time after taking a beating, I'd say it isn't a harsh enough solution.

      (PS I'm a long time smoker, now I smoke ecigs, I wouldn't even smoke them in confined spaces either because they still smell unpleasant if inhaled by a non smoker)

    4. aae

      Violence is never the answer, but many smokers don´t get how annoying it is for some of us to deal with smoke/tobacco allergies, not to mention the f--king stink of it. Just imagine for a moment tobacco smoke smelled like farts, and then picture yourself at every closed space where you have smoking people, I know it sounds s*upid but believe me, for some of us it just smells like s*it.

  10. Rachid Talal

    I really suspected that the tobacco companies would target under-developed countries in order to compensate for their huge losses in the west as a result of the increasing awarness in the west regarding the health lethal dangers provoked by smoking .

    I see , first hand , how smoking is on the rise in some poor countries i visit and it is not due to the ignorance of people there or because of the tobacco companies ' smart deceptive old-new marketing , no, it's mainly because smoking and some cheap drugs are almost the only ways to have "fun " or to relax ....

    Make no mistake , people in poor countries ,or most of them , i guess , at least , know very well what smoking does to peoples' health , but , most of them just don't care, mainly because of their misery , poverty ...

    P.S.: It would be very interesting to investigate the following scientifically :

    Why even highly educated people still smoke , even though they know very well the lethal risks they take by doing so ? people like myself, i must add , to be honest .

    I just re-started smoking after quitting in the last 8 days ....

    Why people behave the way they do , even at the lethal risk of their health ?

    You tell me .....

    1. bringmeredwine

      I know what you mean!
      I once quit for 7 years because I was starting a family. Then, it was so easy for me to quit.
      NOW I'm a pack a day and I know full well how stupid I'm being.
      The chemicals in cigarettes change the physiology of your brain. You become convinced that you absolutely can't relax or focus with out taking one drag after another.
      Unless I get thrown into a detox for a few weeks, I cannot stop smoking. I've tried again several times over the years.
      However, if I was to get pregnant again, or be around children-I could quit immediately.
      It's mind over matter.

    2. Desiree

      I quit smoking two years ago. The first few months were very hard. After the first 4 months passed I did OK. For the past week or two I have been craving them terribly. I would like to just sit and smoke an entire pack. I wish I had never picked up a cigarette. It makes more sense that marijuana be legal than tobacco. Unless you look at it from a dollars and cents point of view.

  11. Harry Nutzack

    there seems to be a math mystery here. if the advertising/promotional dollars of the "big tobacco" boys is "targeting kids", then why do 25% of male teens smoke, while 73% of adult males smoke? those couple of kids they showed were also smoking brands with the LEAST street advertising.
    the kids smoke because the law allows it, and they can purchase the product. they smoke brands associated with "adulthood", as youth smoking is based on "not being seen as a kid". the youth based ad campaigns are aimed at adults "smoke these and you won't be perceived as an old codger".

    when i started smoking as a pre-teen (11 or 12), it was in response to peer pressure ("dont be a pu**y") and not the ever present street advertising (all for brands i could never stand).
    billboard advertising is NEVER aimed at kids. NEVER. think about it. ever seen a billboard for toys, or kid type candy? cartoon tv shows? kid targeted video games? billboards are semi-hypnotic suggestion for drivers, they work like a subliminal cut in video. children don't drive. the medium only works effectively if it is at the very edge of perception, just like all subliminal advertising.

  12. Mr. Good Bomb

    Without citing facts its just not worth listening to.

  13. oQ

    Why is it that these corporates are not in jail when my friend who sold an once of pot 30 yrs ago cannot go home to Virginia because he is still wanted for a year.

    1. bringmeredwine

      Because my dear,
      "The law is an ass!" (Charles Dickens)

  14. AJF13

    I feel we need to creat a framework for society (including business) that allows for morality. The profit motive is a relic in my opinion. If we continue to use the expressions of "that's business" and "if it makes money then sell" while expecting moral and ethics from business we will continually be left wanting. It is no longer okay to argue that the profit motive and free markets will regulate themselves. It is wrong that we promote such contrasting messages. We encourage people to buy products which claim natural beauty but where the model has been photoshopped and her hair is treated. And then wonder why we have people with unrealistic views of their bodies and perplexed by a rise in mental instability. If you want a moral and good society you need an economic framework that allows for it. Wouldn't it be better to not allow business practices that are know to impact on the society at large.

    The saying is "IF it's good for the goose then it's good for the gander". I feel this is just not the case because what's good for those at the top is causing huge problems for the rest.

  15. patrick adrien varencaus

    another to big to fail in this world! ;(

  16. bionara

    Would love to see this topic done as a real documentary and without any of the Flashy "Wait for it, wait for it...BAM!" American take on what a doc should be.