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PHAI Addresses tobacco industry’s use of corporate social responsibility tactics and personal responsibility rhetoric

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

On June 29, 2010, the Public Health Advocacy Institute conducted a webinar on the tobacco industry’s use of corporate social responsibility rhetoric and tactics to try to improve its image, while still maintaining an emphasis on personal responsibility.

Tobacco companies use corporate social responsibility rhetoric and tactics to normalize their image and stave off further regulation and litigation by appearing to have improved their corporate behavior.  Simultaneously, the industry uses the theme of personal responsibility to shift the onus for tobacco products’ impact away from itself and back to the public.

A 60 minute Webinar entitled Tag! You’re It: How Big Tobacco Shifts Blame Back Onto the Public was broadcast on June 29, 2010 and is archived here. Power Point slides from the webinar are available here in PDF format.

Please check out our Issue Briefs here:

  1. THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY’S USE OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY RHETORIC & TACTICS
  2. DENORMALIZATION OF TOBACCO INDUSTRY CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVES
  3. SMOKING CESSATION PROGRAMS
  4. TOBACCO INDUSTRY “YOUTH SMOKING PREVENTION” PROGRAMS
  5. SECONDHAND SMOKE ACCOMMODATION STRATEGY

Topics covered by the webinar and issue briefs include:

The tobacco industry uses various corporate social responsibility programs to convince the public that it has changed and become more responsive to concerns about health and its products’ negative impact on society.

For instance, under the guise of corporate social responsibility, the tobacco companies run “youth smoking prevention” programs to appear as if they are combating youth smoking, but in reality, tobacco companies deny that their pernicious, vigorous marketing has any effect on creating the problem and instead focus solely on putting more responsibility on parents and children.  These programs have been found to be ineffective in preventing or diminishing youth smoking, perhaps by design, but they do introduce another generation of smokers to a tobacco industry with an improved image.

The industry’s secondhand smoke PR campaigns denied the inherent dangers of exposure to its products and instead made the issue one of “courtesy” and “accommodation,” once again shifting the responsibility away from the manufacturers to consumers and the general public.  Tobacco control advocates can use these findings to denormalize the tobacco industry through counter-marketing campaigns and to deny it the legitimacy it seeks through its corporate social responsibility shell game.

Tobacco company sponsored smoking cessation information programs try to shift the responsibility to smokers, most of whom became addicted to their products as children.  Meanwhile, the companies never discuss any efforts to make their products less addictive.



PHAI Publishes Issue Briefs on Tobacco Industry’s Corporate Makeover

Friday, May 8th, 2009

YEAR ONE – CORPORATE MAKEOVER

The Public Health Advocacy Institute, supported by the American Legacy Foundation, has completed a year of research on the tobacco industry’s attempted corporate makeover, and has created five issue briefs on the topic.  A 60 minute Webinar was broadcast on May 11, 2009 and is archived HERE.  They highlight various aspects of the tobacco industry’s use of corporate social responsibility rhetoric and tactics to attempt to rehabilitate its image and fend off tobacco control activism.  These briefs each contain issues, the evidence and possible messages for State Tobacco Control Programs to use in their interventions and counter-marketing campaigns, and to generate support for future interventions.  The issue briefs can be used effectively to denormalize the tobacco companies and better understand the motives behind their corporate makeover attempts.

Issue Brief Topics:

  1. Corporate Social Responsibility Overview
  2. Manipulating Science
  3. Manipulating the Press
  4. Manipulating the Public and Regulators
  5. Youth Smoking

All briefs are in PDF format. get_adobe_reader1




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