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TOBACCO & MARIJUANA – hand in hand!

The link between lung cancer and tobacco was established by British scientists in 1950. However, that did not result in safer cigarettes, it led to more aggressive marketing.

One group targeted was pregnant women. The tobacco industry accepted that smoking during pregnancy resulted in “lower baby birth weight” i.e., smaller babies.

Winston produced their “Win Win Win” slogan – “An easy labor, a slim baby, and the Full Flavor of Winston.”

Philip Morris produced a brand called “Born Gentle” and expressed their own pride of a new parent. And L&M used then famous Hollywood actress Barbara Stanwyck to tell the audience that these (L&M) cigarettes were “just what the doctor had ordered”.

No reasonable person, to include smokers, would accept these ads today. However, we do see equally positive messages surrounding marijuana, despite its clear links to mental illness. Many young people are aware of the promotion of “medical marijuana” and this alone creates a positive image of the drug.

Sadly, teenagers who get involved with marijuana are generally unaware of the fact that schizophrenia does not become apparent in people until later in life (males from their early to mid-twenties, and in females from their late twenties to early thirties. Women may experience a second onset in their forties).

We are not allowed to say that marijuana is an addictive substance. However, the opposing sides (for & against legalisation) do agree on the term “substance abuse disorder”, which is when an individual continues to use the substance despite its negative impacts – i.e., addiction!

Those who advocate the legalisation of marijuana (and other drugs), miss a major point. For example, cannabis shops are businesses, and as such, there are only two things they can do to compete, and grow. One, they must engage new users, and two, they must convert current users, into more frequent users.

This is why the tobacco industry has continued to produce products aimed at certain segments of society, such as “Slims” & “Menthols”.

Tobacco advertising has been shut down; but that has not slowed the industry.

In 2019 Altria Group Inc. (the owners of Philip Morris / Marlboro / Viginia Slims etc.) invested $1.8billion into Cronos Group Inc. involved in the manufacture, marketing, and distribution of hemp-derived supplements – marijuana!

Parents across the UK have consistently expressed concerns about the rise of the gang and drug culture, particularly as their kids travel to and from school. Not only does this distract busy parents from concentrating on their jobs, but many of their kids live in fear and feel unable to express these concerns to their parents.

Both corporate HR departments and schools have a role to play here, particularly in educating teens, not just that drugs are bad, but a deeper understanding of these dangerous products which are now available on a corner, or in a playground, near you!

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