Image - Big tobacco using Trojan horse tactics to exploit Indigenous peoples


The tobacco industry has a long history of exploiting Indigenous peoples and their culture. During the 1980s, tobacco company WD & HO Wills ran racist advertising in Australia carrying the slogan ‘Get your own black’. In the late 1990s, Winfield advertisements depicted an Aboriginal man playing a didgeridoo with the slogan ‘Australians’ answer to the peace pipe’. More recently, Philip Morris International (PMI) has sold cigarettes in Israel labelled ‘Māori Mix’ and in the USA, R.J. Reynolds continues to market Natural American Spirit using Native American imagery. Thus, tobacco industry exploitation of Indigenous peoples continues.

Thompson et al draw our attention to how the tobacco industry is now focusing on Indigenous peoples to promote their Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems (ANDS). They discuss how Rothmans, Benson and Hedges targeted Indigenous health leaders, ostensibly to promote their vision of a smoke-free Canada but in a way that instead promoted switching to (their) ANDS products. By adopting a tone of remorse and packaging their marketing message in the language of reconciliation, the tobacco company’s products appear almost….

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Anaru Waa
University of Otago, Wellington