Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

World No Tobacco Day 2000


One of the primary objectives of the tobacco industry is to frame tobacco use as an individual and behavioural decision. The problem with this casting is that it leaves the tobacco industry’s activities and practices completely out of the equation. It assumes that people make decisions in a state of vacuum, completely uninfluenced by their environment including industry advertising and marketing.

Tobacco advertising and use in the entertainment and sports industry projects images of smokers as fun loving and glamorous and, most insidiously, healthy. Attractive images and people suggest that smoking is a powerful tool for enhancing self-image. The illusion helps the tobacco industry sell a product that kills.

"The tobacco companies spend $6 billion a year in the United States alone, enticing youth to smoke. They make you believe that if you smoke, you’re going to be sexy, attractive, successful, accepted by your peers, rocking, and macho, cool and sassy. They project this image in every media — from day — time movies to night-time movies, magazines and even cartoon characters," says former "Winston" man turned tobacco control activist Allan Landers.

There is evidence to show that people’s decision to smoke is enhanced by advertising and promotion of tobacco especially in the entertainment, sports and music industry. The Tobacco Industry understands this well and actively markets tobacco in many parts of the world through a strategic and insidious mix of pricing, placement and promotion. Sponsorship and product placement in films and sports are key strategies used by the Tobacco industry to circumvent advertising restrictions, where they have been enacted. Tobacco control work cannot and need not hope to match the advertising and promotional work of the tobacco industry. With science, justice, public health and economics on its side, tobacco control work can stay ahead on the information curve and seize the public health initiative on this issue.

Standing up to the culture vultures

World No Tobacco Day 2000 (WNTD 2000) aims to raise awareness of and counter these global marketing practices of the tobacco industry which lure customers, especially young people, through sponsorship, advertising and glamourisation of tobacco in films, music, art and sports.

It will serve as a catalyst to reframe the tobacco debate by:

  • Disseminating information about the untruthful, deceptive and manipulative marketing practices of the tobacco industry, as revealed in their own "secret" documents;
  • Sharing global and national tobacco control experience in countering this deception; and
  • Creating a powerful international alliance of artists, sports and media people endorsing tobacco control issues.

The " Insider": Major International Opportunity for Entertainment Focus on Tobacco

A Walt Disney film called "The Insider " starring Al Pacino and Christopher Plummer has been released in the US on November 5th , 1999. It is the story of Dr.Wigand , former vice-president, (R&D), Brown and Williamson. Dr.Wigand blew the whistle on the tobacco industry’s nicotine manipulation. The film recounts his struggle and the tobacco industry’s tactics to silence him and his work. Dr.Wigand will be present at TFI’s media initiative launch in California.

Activities on the Day

Regions and Countries will organize their own events. Bangkok, it is hoped that each Region will engage relevant entertainment personalities. Thailand is the venue for the global WNTD event on May 31st , 2000. A separate organising committee has been set up under the guidance of Dr. Varabhorn Bhumiswadi, Director, Institute of Tobacco Consumption Control, Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Public Health. TFI and SEARO are involved with MOH Thailand in planning local events in Bangkok.