Killing 8 million people each year. Costing the world’s economy US $1.4 trillion annually. Undermining governments’ efforts to protect public health during a pandemic. Tobacco companies and their products cause significant damage each and every year—and have yet to be held fully accountable.
Organized by the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC), a partner in STOP, the second annual Global Media Competition called on creators from around the world to help spread the message that it’s time to #MakeTobaccoPay. And they didn’t disappoint. GGTC received more than 700 posters, infographics and videos from 53 countries calling out the industry for its lies and cover-ups.
Here are the winners in each category.
Title: You Think You Escaped?
Twenty-eight-year-old Nguyen Hong Hanh from Vietnam used the concept of a failed prison-break to convey that, for many smokers, vaping becomes a new “nicotine prison.” She says, “Young people are easily attracted to trendy, fancy and flashy things like e-cigarettes that they do not know will make their health worse. It’s not fair that the tobacco industry trades off the future of the young generation for profit.”
Title: You are not smoking. You are taught to be a smoker.
In her poster, 21-year-old Kavindya Dilhara Thathsarani Peiris, a student in Sri Lanka, highlighted the industry’s intentional efforts to influence people and policies in its favor. From social media to industry front groups, she says, “They [interfere] in policy formulation, research, media, education, entertainment, donation, CSR.”
Title: Lie in Thousand Deaths
Submitted by co-creators 22-year-old John Benedict Bien and 21-year-old Samantha Gayle Santos of the Philippines, this poster asks the critical question: If we can charge criminals for their crimes, why can’t we make the industry pay, too? The pair says their poster, “depicts the aftermath of fabricated lies and cover-ups that tobacco companies are trying to publish in order to gain revenue, not thinking of its detrimental effect on people that leads to the amplifying number of deaths across the globe.”
Title: For the Children, by the Children
Seventeen-year-old Vinzen Borja of the Philippines focused on the harm caused by youth growing tobacco and youth using tobacco products. Borja says the poster “…depicts two different yet somehow connected worlds, showing how decades of denial and impunity have turned an entire generation into both consumers and producers of their deadly tobacco products…”
Title: Behind the Facade
Submitted by James Sablay, 18, of the Philippines, this infographic calls out the hypocrisy of the industry’s environment-focused PR efforts. He says, “Tobacco use has long been seen as unsustainable and now is the right time that we decide that enough is enough. In my opinion, it can be regarded as a waste of equal severity as plastic wastes as places have been littered time and again by cigarette butts, harming the environment.”
Title: Tobacco Is Not Going Down Alone
This infographic, submitted by Taorem Sananu, a 24-year-old student in Bangladesh, depicts the industry as a sinking ship—one that “takes innocent lives and damages nature along with its descending.”
Title: Economic Consequences
From sky-high health care costs to minimized tax revenues, Nguyen Le Duy of Vietnam used this infographic to highlight the many ways the industry hurts economies. Nguyen said, “Together, these ‘cigarettes’ of data form a metaphorical chart symbolizing how the tobacco industry damages economic growth.”
Title: Is Tobacco Sustainable?
James Sablay, who also won the 1st-place prize for his “Behind the Façade” infographic, details the toll the tobacco industry takes on sustainable development.
Title: The Bad Side You Need to Know about Tobacco
This video, submitted by 23-year-old Kenmar Bernardino of the Philippines, shows how it’s not just global health that’s negatively affected by the tobacco industry. He says, “As a youth, I am very saddened by reading the real story of how this industry is affecting the environment, child labor, and the health of its users. Everyone should be aware that a global issue such as this is still happening and will continue to happen if not publicized.”
Title: Fake Profit: How Tobacco Industries Perpetuate Child Labor
In her video, 20-year-old Trisha Dantiani of Indonesia, counters the industry’s narrative that it makes a positive economic impact by bringing jobs to communities. She says that “…in reality, the tobacco industry has been causing more harm to society, especially to tobacco farmers. The tobacco industry has deprived farmers and their children of a bright future for far too long.”
Title: Big Tobacco Lies
In her video, 24-year-old Hannah Mae Vera Cruz of the Philippines shows how the industry’s actions directly counteract institutions’, organizations’ and individuals’ efforts at progress. She says, “This advocacy is an appeal to many who think that patronizing tobacco products only affects them. If there is any chance that they are looking for ways to help the world become more sustainable, I hope that they chance upon the video, see the tobacco industry’s lies for what they really are, and have the same resolve to expose the industry as a whole.”
Title: What Is the Big T?
Twenty-four-year-old Maria Andrea Gecille Arias of the Philippines created this “fun and informative” video to “spill the tea”—or, show the differences between what the tobacco industry says and what it does. She says, “I am also hopeful that a story can be told and that lies can be revealed bravely through creative storytelling. I am hopeful that one day, the power-hungry will fear the people, the community and the knowledge they behold.”
View all the Global Media Competition finalists on GGTC’s website.