Anti-smoking drive to go after ‘stupid teens’

TEENS Are Stupid is the title of a new campaign aimed at discouraging young people from smoking.

The campaign, which is being run by the Irish Cancer Society, will centre on Corporate Tobacco Man, a fictional character representing the tobacco industry.

Corporate Tobacco Man will be popping up in many different places over the next few months trying to get more ‘stupid teens’ to start smoking and become dedicated and life-long customers.

Society spokeswoman Jane Curtin said that while the tobacco industry has always denied setting out to target young people, there was documentary evidence it considered the recruitment of under 18s essential to its survival.

“In Ireland, the tobacco industry needs over 50 young people to start smoking every day to remain viable,” she pointed out.

It is estimated that 15% of 12 to 17-year-olds smoke. More than half of all smokers start before the age of 15 and 83% start before they are 18.

“So we have invented Corporate Tobacco Man and through his many guises, we are showing how evil and sinister he is and how he reaches out to teenagers and subtly manipulates them to adopt a dangerous and expensive addiction to nicotine and a lifelong habit that often leads to ill health and premature death,” said Ms Curtin.

Corporate Tobacco Man will feature in cinema advertising, a campaign website (, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a YouTube channel and a Flickr account.

And from today, cryptic and beautiful art installations will be popping up in shopping centres around the country.

The custom design units feature a teenage girl mannequin trapped in a glass box full of smoke. There is a handle on the box and the girl could free herself, but does not.

The society is also working with X-HALE (X’ing Out Harmful Addictions and Lethal Effects), a new smoke-free movement led by and for teenagers.

X-Hale provides young people with an opportunity to air their views and concerns on tobacco and to expose the ugly habit.


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