What? A green cigarette? How can that be? The claim is that these cigarettes use organic tobacco, and that their manufacturing process is environmentally friendly.
Greenwashing A Deadly And Addictive Product
From USA Today:
“It’s an egregious ad. It’s trying to greenwash a deadly and addictive product,” says Vince Willmore of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, adding research shows cigarettes also are the No. 1 source of litter. “When you hear a product is eco-friendly, you think it’s better for you.”
The tobacco company, owned by Reynolds American Inc., says it’s not saying its cigarettes are safer but that its manufacturing is greener. It says its facilities are wind-powered, its farmers use fewer chemicals and 70% of its sales staff drive hybrid vehicles.
“We try to be good stewards of the environment,” says spokesman Seth Moskowitz. Noting concern about littering of cigarette butts, he says a sister company helps fund Keep America Beautiful.
“This is a perfect example of why green marketing is broken,” says Joel Makower, executive editor of GreenBiz.com, which covers business environmental efforts. He says marketers latch on to anything that can be considered green so the term becomes meaningless.
Dying From Lung Cancer Is Not Eco-Friendly
Products that harm people should not be marketed as green. Indeed, how can the word cigarette and eco-friendly appear in the same sentence? There is nothing friendly, eco or otherwise, about watching someone dying of lung cancer developed from a lifetime of smoking. Having seen a close friend, as well as my ex father-in-law, suffer this slow, torturous death, I am outraged by American Spirit’s attempt to prettify cigarettes.
This is not the first time controversy has erupted around American Spirit tobacco. In 2000, after advertising its cigarettes as free of additives, the Federal Trade Commission negotiated a settlement that required it to include this statement: “No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.”
Cigarettes Are Carcinogenic And Addictive
In 2010, after marketing its “organic” tobacco, 33 state attorneys general demanded the company include a statement saying the cigarette was not safer as a result. Now, American Spirit, the only U.S. brand made of “100% certified organic tobacco,” clearly states on its homepage: “No additives in our tobacco does NOT mean a safer cigarette.”
Cigarettes are carcinogenic and addictive, and it is shameful of American Spirit to pretend otherwise. Hopefully, American consumers can see through these lies.
Photo Credit: nikoretro via Creative Commons
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