Collection: Deceivingly Delicious
Many people know that nicotine is an addictive substance found in cigarettes, but there are so many more toxic chemicals that people are not aware of. Some of the thousands of harmful chemicals found in cigarettes are carcinogens, cancer-causing substances, which explains why cancer is a common health effect of prolonged smoking. Since “most of the chemicals inhaled in cigarette smoke stay in the lungs,” a high frequency of smoking leads to greater damage to the lungs.1 Many campaigns that illustrate the poisons within cigarettes focus on raising awareness of how these toxic chemicals harm people’s health.
Some advertisements discuss how certain chemicals found in cigarettes are used for scientific and industrial purposes to suggest why people should not purposely be inhaling them. For example, a campaign launched by the UK National Health Service included an advertisement that stated that formaldehyde “helps preserve dead bodies. Helps destroy living ones.” Also, other advertisements by the UK NHS pointed out that hydrogen cyanide is “highly restricted in industry” and that arsenic was “banned from public sale in 1972.” The tobacco industry tries to hide the toxins it is feeding consumers, but by portraying the chemicals in cigarettes “as dangerous, hazardous, and illegal to ship, [viewers] can infer that the ingredients will have negative health and long-term effects.”
However, a more effective method of advertising, especially with youth, is to shine light on the tobacco industry’s deceptive tactic of downplaying the toxicity of the contents of cigarettes. To target teens, tobacco companies “manipulate the content of cigarettes with chemicals such as ammonia to increase the addictive impact of cigarettes; and conceal their knowledge of the health consequences of smoking and the addictive nature of tobacco,” so it is effective to show this manipulation in order to galvanize youth against Big Tobacco.3