Create counter smoking campaigns
Does anybody notice the lull in the Kenyan media as far as cigarette promotions are concerned? After the banning of cigarette smoking promotions on radio and televisions, all the dust seems to have settled. Apparently, every stakeholder is now content with the status quo. Ironically, the consumption of cigarettes continues unabated, with giant marketers establishing larger markets every day. It is clear that the ban on promotions is not an effective remedy to smokism. Something should be done through the same media to counter smoking behavior amongst Kenyans.
Cigarette smoking is the only activity that is legally promoted and is highly lethal when used as the promotion directs. Cigarettes are addictive and those who smoke, researches have proven, are easily hooked and seldom change brands. Their number is only reduced by death from the complications associated with smoking. This has made those behind the promotions of cigarettes explore ways of replenishing the dwindling numbers of smokers. They are not targeting the already mature populations who are smokers already but instead they are recruiting school age children and women into smoking.
Tobacco advertising is done by using appealing attributes in the cigarette advertisements that are printed or transmitted through the electronic media. Cigarette advertisements use youthful healthy models full of energy and with no apparent worries whatsoever. Apparently, they send the message to the children and youth that the relaxation and success of the models is a result of smoking the cigarettes.
This misconception is totally wrong and dangerous. It is a desperate mechanism of the promoters to encourage children and the youth to get on board the smoking bandwagon. Children, the youth and women who are not yet convinced by these advertisements need to be wary of the wrong appeals in cigarettes packaging since the appeals are not true. They only mention explicitly that cigarette smoking is harmful to the user’s health and fail to give more information about the harms associated. When coerced they print that it causes bad breathe.
The truth is that cigarette smoking causes a plethora of ailments lung cancer included. It is also associated with impotence in the later years in life. This is the more reason why there should be a health promotion campaign targeting young women and children. The lull provided by the banning of cigarette promotions provides the right environment for this campaign.