I’m not a smoker; I’ve never even tried to smoke a cigarette.  I hate it when people light up in front of me.  I don’t want to inhale someone’s cigarette smoke.  It’s one of the few times I become a hateful person; when someone lights up and blows their smoke in my face.

So imagine my dismay when the Daily Dog ran a story last week about the tobacco industry’s anti-smoking campaign seen as a PR stunt.  A PR stunt?  To negate harmful media buzz?

Is Big Tobacco using spin to hook a new generation of smokers?

The Nov. 2 post on HealthDay.com describes the findings, which was led by researchers at The Cancer Council Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.

The researchers found that, among young children, there weren’t many links between exposure to tobacco company ads and smoking attitudes and behavior.

However, among high school students, seeing parent-targeted ads was associated with kids expressing a lowered sense of smoking as harmful, a stronger approval of smoking, stronger intentions to smoke in the future and a greater likelihood of having smoked in the past 30 days, the researchers found.

The American Journal of Public Health published the research online.  They found that Philip Morris has admitted that the aim of this program was to “delay smoking until age 18.”  This goes against the very idea of public health-funded programs, which encourage people to never take up smoking.

Critics of Big Tobacco find the PR tactics misleading.  Stanton Glantz of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education adds, “These programs, like earlier efforts by the tobacco industry, simply serve the industry’s public relations needs and support their political efforts to displace meaningful tobacco.”

Tobacco, like spin, sucks.