Big Tobacco

Only five PR firms have joined the Quit Big Tobacco Campaign and pledged not to represent tobacco and e-cigarette clients.

Ketchum, Golin, Fenton, Finn Partners and Hager Sharp are the PR firms that signed the pledge, according to the QTC website.

MDC Partners (parent of Allison + Partners, Sloane & Co, KWT Global and Hunter PR) also is on the list.

Organized by New York-based Vital Strategies, global public health organization, QBTC takes aim at Big Tobacco (Altria, Philip Morris International, Reynolds American and Imperial Tobacco) and its promotion of e-cigarettes to counter the decline in smoking.

Big Tobacco, according to QBTC, spends $1M per hour in the US to replenish its customer base as half of smokers die from smoking. "The effort is driving a new epidemic of vaping among youth, using influencer marketing, kid-friendly flavors and TV ads."

While the smoking rate for teenagers is below five percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions says vaping rose almost 80 percent among high school students from 2017 to 2018.

The QBTC received a major boost on April 30 as CVS Health, which stopped selling cigarettes in its stores five years ago, signed the pledge and will not work with PR firms and ad agencies that represent tobacco and e-cigarette companies.