The success of global tobacco marketing is undeniable.
Over decades, tobacco companies have somehow managed to maintain common myths about smoking: it makes you look cool, relieves stress, and manages to make both men and women look sexy.
As a result, and in defiance of the long-established health risks associated with smoking (including increased risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases) – which result in half of long-term smokers dying as a result of their habit – the tobacco industry continues to make eye-watering profits.
And rates of smoking are increasing in countries with the highest levels of population growth.
Indeed, as the tobacco industry itself likes to boast – “If you can market a product that kills people, you can sell anything”. Smoking causes 6 million deaths each year around the world, yet 1 billion people worldwide still smoke.
So, asked Professor Allan Hackshaw, in the last in a series of ‘Lunchtime Lectures’ at University College London: Are cigarettes the most ‘successful’ product ever?