A new report released on Wednesday details what is termed the Tobacco industry’s predatory marketing to women and girls and the consequences to women’s health.

KGVO spoke with Laurie Rubiner, Executive Vice President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Tammy Boyd, Chief Policy Officer and Senior Counsel for the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Rubiner looked at past ad campaigns for cigarettes aimed directly at women.

“It's an aggressive targeting of women and girls by the tobacco industry that's been going on for nearly a century,” said Rubiner. “Some of us remember the 1960s with Virginia Slims ‘you've come a long way baby’ ad, and they use things like beauty, fashion and  sophistication to appeal to women, but they know that tobacco use causes serious harm at every stage of a woman's life.”

Rubiner stated that at one point, they were ready to shut down warning campaigns focused on children, but that the tobacco industry found a new way to hook kids on nicotine: vaping.

“Kids had really almost stopped smoking combustible cigarettes,” she said. “But the sad thing is, that the tobacco companies figured that out too. They realized that they had to come up with a new product so that they could ensure that they had customers for life and they came up with this new product called the e-cigarette. Some people know it as vaping.”

Rubiner said Missoula was proactive in attempting to keep vape products away from children, but she claimed the state of Montana chose to do otherwise.

“Yeah, unfortunately, Missoula just passed that law, and it was a really good law, and we were very supportive of it,” she said. “Unfortunately, the state passed a law that preempted it, so it's no longer in effect. We are trying to get a national law passed that would ban these flavors at the national level, so that these flavors just wouldn't need to be on the market.”

Tammy Boyd also spoke of the dangers of tobacco on women of childbearing age.

“There are devastating health consequences to using tobacco products,” said Boyd. “These marketing campaigns really have had a staggering impact on health for women and girls. For example, for young women tobacco use also impacts her ability to become pregnant and often causes serious pregnancy complications as well. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are also harmful to a baby's health both before and after birth. Those effects can really last throughout their childhood and teenage years.”

A statement from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says: ‘Like decades of cigarette advertising before it, marketing for e-cigarettes promote familiar themes of rebelliousness, fun and sex appeal. These strategies have worked. Data from the CDC found that in 2019, more than 70% of girls in middle school and high school had been exposed to e-cigarette advertisements.’

 

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