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Plant-based menthol cigarettes? Food industry trends and farm-to-pack cigarette advertising
  1. Ilana G Raskind1,
  2. Judith J Prochaska1,
  3. Anna E Epperson2,
  4. Lisa Henriksen1
  1. 1Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA
  2. 2Department of Psychological Sciences, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of California, Merced, Merced, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ilana G Raskind, Stanford University Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford, CA 94305-5705, USA; iraskind{at}stanford.edu

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Dairy-free milk, vegan eggs, meatless burgers and…plant-based cigarettes? While the proliferation of plant-based products is most commonly associated with food and beverages,1 2 Winston’s new packaging and advertising—highlighting ‘100% plant-based menthol’ (figure 1) and ‘farm to pack’ (figure 2) cigarettes—suggest that the tobacco industry is tapped into some of today’s most popular food trends. These marketing strategies are well aligned with the tobacco industry’s history of using language and imagery that communicate reduced health risks and environmental sustainability,3–5 as well as its long-standing connections to the food industry.6 7

Figure 1

Advertisement for Winston’s menthol cigarettes as seen in the October 2020 issue of Rolling Stone. The term ‘plant-based’ appears three times: in the headline, copy and image of the cigarette pack. The pack is placed next to an image of mint leaves growing in dirt. Unlike a warning written with black font on white background, small letters in white font overlaid on a textured background indicate that the product does not present a reduced risk of harm (lower right corner) (adapted from Trinkets & Trash (https://www.trinketsandtrash.org/detail.php?artifactid=15469)).

Figure 2

Screenshot from Winston’s website advertising their ‘100% plant-based menthol’ cigarettes next to the phrase ‘consider …

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Footnotes

  • Contributors LH and IGR conceived of the manuscript idea. IGR led the writing of the manuscript. LH, JJP and AEE critically revised the manuscript for important intellectual content. All authors approved of the final submitted manuscript.

  • Funding This study was funded by National Cancer Institute (R01 CA217165) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (T32 HL007034).

  • Competing interests JJP has provided consultation to pharmaceutical and technology companies that make medications and other treatments for quitting smoking and has served as an expert witness in lawsuits against the tobacco companies.

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

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