In April of 1970, it became illegal to advertise cigarettes. The marketing that was prior employed showed cigarettes being healthy, helping socially, and being attractive. Upon further restriction in 2010, Big Tobacco was banned from sponsoring cultural events and putting their logos on apparel. These bans seem to have had a positive influence on the decline of smoking, as the number of smokers has dropped 35% since 1965.
As marijuana continues to become legalized across the nation, it is important to recognize the impacts that big tobacco has on the market. Prior to marijuana becoming illegal, tobacco companies recognize that marijuana was either a competitor to their product, or an asset to building the company. Since then, marijuana has remained on the radar for many big tobacco companies.
Recently, it was found that one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, British Imperial Brands, invested in out-of-country “Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies”, which is researching ways that marijuana can be adapted to be used for medicine. These large investments show that Big Tobacco already cannot wait to get their hands on the marijuana industry. Further, Altria, the world’s biggest tobacco marketer, has been rumored to be investing in Canada’s main source of marijuana, Cronos Group.
As Big Tobacco begins to invest in marijuana, it extremely effects data outcomes and studies, as the industry sponsored research tends to be bias in the favor of marketing and sales, over consumer wellbeing. Meaning that data will likely be skewed to only show positive effects of consuming cannabis instead of showing both sides of the story. This skewed data increases sales because it makes consumers aware of only positives, instead of being aware of the overall effects.
This is a concern because it is inviting history to be able to repeat itself. Research will likely be bias, encouraging more people to only see the benefits of marijuana instead of gathering information on both sides of the story and making a fair decision on what is actually good for each individual. Big Tobacco in marijuana can only mean negative consequences for the American people.