Tobacco Industry Interference in a 21st Century Media Environment

Friday, July 21, 2023: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Grand Hall East - A/B (Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta)
The tobacco industry has long used popular media to recruit new customers and discredit scientific research that threatens their bottom line. Today’s tobacco industry uses a multi-media strategy that relies on misinformation to rebrand and reshape public opinion about tobacco’s role in society while continuing past trends of glamorization and manipulative marketing. This panel gathers Truth Initiative experts to highlight the ways Big Tobacco leverages media to subtly shift its image from a public health pariah to peddlers of innovative “solutions” to smoking, all while recruiting new users and undermining scientific findings. Bushraa Khatib, MA, will present a growing body of Truth Initiative research that finds the tobacco industry uses social media platforms to advertise tobacco products, dominate tobacco-related conversations, evade flavored tobacco restrictions, and spread tobacco misinformation. Lexi Kierstead, MPH, will highlight original research illustrating that vaping advocates use Twitter to amplify anti-regulatory sentiment and that tobacco policy-related Twitter discussions do not represent public opinion. Jodie Briggs, MPP, MA, will discuss the ways Big Tobacco uses scientific spaces to advance its biased research and cynically position themselves as an advocate for public health. Jessica Rath, PhD, MPH, CHES, will highlight original research on tobacco-free screens that illustrates how the tobacco industry’s efforts on social media are part of a broader wave to infiltrate spaces and screens popular with young people. Finally, as panel discussant, Nathan Silver, PhD will lead Q&A and explore what we can do to protect young people from nicotine addiction in an evolving media landscape.

See more of: Panel