December 13, 2017

Tobacco ads come clean

The tobacco industry runs court-ordered ads that tell the American public the truth about the deadly toll of tobacco.

The courts have ordered the tobacco industry to run “corrective” ads on TV and in newspapers. In a LinkedIn column, Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief community health officer, notes that Kaiser Permanente is approaching tobacco cessation as a community health priority.

The tobacco companies that testified before Congress that nicotine is NOT addictive in 1994 are now placing ads in more than 50 newspapers in which they are being required to share the truth. Similar ads will also run on television — five times per week, every week, on all major networks, during prime time — for one full year.

The ads are not flashy. They’re certainly not designed to help people quit — that’s what our community health work does. But they may provide some community members with the renewed motivation they need to quit. We should make sure they get the support they need to break the habit. Kaiser Permanente has a number of tobacco cessation resources available for our colleagues, members and the communities we serve.

Reducing the deadly toll of tobacco is a critical community health issue, with significant social justice and health equity implications for vulnerable populations.

Read Dr. Choucair’s full LinkedIn column.