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Big tobacco using Trojan horse tactics to exploit Indigenous peoples
  1. Andrew Waa1,2,
  2. Raglan Maddox3,4,
  3. Patricia Nez Henderson5,6
  1. 1 Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand
  2. 2 Ngati Hine/Ngapuhi
  3. 3 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Program, National Centre for Epidemiology and Public Health, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  4. 4 Modewa Clan
  5. 5 Black Hills Center for American Indian Health, Rapid City, South Dakota, USA
  6. 6 Navajo Nation (Diné)
  1. Correspondence to Andrew Waa, Public Health, University of Otago Wellington, Wellington 6242, New Zealand; Andrew.waa{at}

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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’.1 2 More recently, Philip Morris International (PMI) has sold cigarettes in Israel labelled ‘Māori Mix’3 and in the USA, R.J. Reynolds continues to market Natural American Spirit using Native American imagery.4 Thus, tobacco industry exploitation of Indigenous peoples continues.

Thompson et al 5 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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