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The flip side of Natural American Spirit: corporate social responsibility advertising
  1. Anna E Epperson,
  2. Judith J Prochaska,
  3. Lisa Henriksen
  1. Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anna E Epperson, Stanford Prevention Research Center, 1265 Welch Road, Suite 300, Stanford, CA 94305-5411, USA; aepper{at}

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The flip side of Natural American Spirit cigarette packs now align the brand with ‘Respect for the Earth’, a corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign. It champions a ‘100% zero-waste-to-landfill’ manufacturing facility, ‘earth-friendly tobacco’, easier pack recycling, and ‘U.S.-grown tobacco’ (figure 1). Such marketing appeals to biospheric values, with emphasis on the intrinsic value of the ecosystem, implying a moral imperative to act pro-environmentally.1–3 Biospheric values inspire consumers to pay a premium for products perceived as eco-friendly, such as energy-efficient appliances and organic foods.3 Notably, the market share for premium-priced Natural American Spirit increased by more than 400% since 2002,4 even as the number of cigarette smokers in the USA declined to a record low.5

Figure 1

Front and back of four types of Natural American Spirit cigarette packs with ‘Respect for the Earth’ campaign.

In reality, biospheric values are entirely incompatible with smoking cigarettes of …

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  • Contributor JJP and LH proposed the study. AEE and LH identified the advertisements. Literature review and manuscript preparation were completed by AEE, JJP and LH.

  • Funding A postdoctoral training grant T32 (HL007034) from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute supported AEE. JJP’s tobacco-related research is funded by the National Cancer Institute (R01CA204356), the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (R01HL117736) and the State of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (24RT-0035 and 25IR-0032). LH’s research is funded by the National Cancer Institute (R01CA067850 and U01CA054821) and the State of California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (23RT-0017, 22RT-0142 and 25IR-0026).

  • Competing interests AEE is an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (a federally recognised American Indian tribe). JJP has consulted to Pfizer, which makes smoking cessation medications, and has been an expert witness for plaintiffs’ counsel in court cases against tobacco companies. LH is a contractor for the California Tobacco Control Program and has consulted to the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.