Marketing prof explores the interplay between tobacco and food product marketing claims | Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics

Marketing prof explores the interplay between tobacco and food product marketing claims

Posted on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

The claims marketers make to nudge consumers towards their products or services are carefully selected and highly scrutinized. In a new editorial by Lang marketing prof Dr. Tim Dewhirst titled "Interplay of food and tobacco product descriptors as health claims" published in the British medical journal Tobacco Control, describes the modern yet deceptive marketing approach that tobacco companies are beginning to use to promote their products as being a healthier alternatives.

In the editorial, Dewhirst draws attention to the forthcoming article in the journal that points to Winston advertising and the recent use of claims related to 'plant-based' menthol cigarettes. He explores the commonalities in marketing claims of tobacco and food products that are strategically meant to serve as health claims. 

"Plant-based products are commonly positioned as alternatives from red meat or dairy consumption based on claims pertaining to health and environmental sustainability," says Dewhirst

Other health "buzz words" tobacco companies are using include "light", "thins", and "slims" as well as "natural."

Dewhirst states that "not surprisingly, consumers hold the term 'natural' in higher regard than artificial', with many perceiving 'natural' to be healthier, while 'artificial' or 'synthetic' means something unhealthy that is to be avoided."

Tobacco use has been characterized as the most important preventable cause of death across the globe, yet contributes to more than 8 million deaths, per year, up until 2030. 

Read the full editorial on the Tobacco Control Journal website


tim dewhirst




Dr. Tim Dewhirst is a professor and senior research fellow in marketing and public policy at Lang's Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies.

His research interests include brand strategy, business ethics, marketing and public policy, marketing communication and advertising, and sports and entertainment marketing.



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