Sex, Lies, and Cigarettes
In 2010, a video of an overweight two-year-old boy smoking cigarettes went viral. He was expertly twirling his cigarette between his fingers while he puffed smoke out his pouting lips. This Indonesian child became an instant Internet sensation. Most people laughed and dismissed it as a hoax, but when the laughter died down, reality surfaced. It turns out that the video was real and that this smoking baby was not an isolated case.
In this documentary you’ll learn that the tobacco industry specifically targets children and youth in developing countries like Indonesia. When the habit declined in the US and Europe, Big Tobacco went to some of the poorest countries searching for new consumers. They used the same marketing tactics and the same lies. And somehow, once again, they convinced the average citizen that smoking does not cause diseases and that cigarette ads don’t target children.
In the early 1960s the United States was indeed Marlboro Country. Cigarette commercials were common. You could smoke anywhere and at any time. Doctors, celebrities, and even cartoon characters like Fred Flintstone endorsed cigarettes. Nearly half of all adult Americans smoked and business was booming. But the tobacco industry deceitfully hid the truth from the public: when used as intended, this product kills.
In 2006 an aggressive campaign was launched to bring the truth to the public. As a result, according to NYC mayor, 50% less kids smoke today than did eight years ago. However, smoking still kills around one billion people each year, 80% of which live in developing countries. In Indonesia alone, 400,000 people die yearly from tobacco related diseases.
The kind of tobacco marketing that once was dominant in the US can now be seen all over Indonesia; on the television, on the streets, and even lining the dirt roads of remote villages. In fact, 70% of men in Indonesia smoke as does one in every four boys between the ages of 13 and 15 smoke. And there’s virtually no regulation by the government. This means that any child can easily buy a cigarette. Most street vendors sell them as singles for as little as five cents each; even right outside schools.
Philip Morris, the largest tobacco company in the world, now spends about $200 million a year marketing to Indonesia.
As you ponder the outrageous images of parents sticking cigarettes into the mouths of their infants, the one question on your mind will be: what’s it going to take for this to stop? Watch now to find out.