Study finds apps push smoking

2012-10-23 09:22

Paris - Scores of smartphone applications are promoting a pro-smoking message, from brands to games, according to a study published on Monday in the health journal Tobacco Control.

Public-health researchers led by Nasser BinDihm at the University of Sydney in Australia say they found 107 tobacco-friendly apps in a trawl of the Apple App Store and Android Market.

Some were programs that allowed the user to simulate smoking or collect points for buying Marlboro cigarettes.

Others included pictures of global brands or images of cigarettes that could be set as "wallpaper" for the phone.

Some apps were a game where users can pass a cigarette to on-screen characters, or were "how to" applications, such as advice for using hand-rolled tobacco.

These apps are potential violations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which bans advertising and promoting tobacco products in all media, says the paper.

The worry is that the apps will glamorise smoking among the young, it says.

"Pro-smoking content, including explicit cigarette brand images, is promoted in smartphone apps which are reaching millions of users, including teenagers and children," it says.

"App stores need to explore ways of regulating this content."

Forty-two of the 107 apps were found on Android Market, where they were downloaded by around 11 million people on average.

  • alan.jerrold - 2012-10-23 09:38

    Yep, cigarette companies are really just criminals who will do anything to get people addicted. They used to do it with movies (ever notice how many people smoke in old movies?), now they are trying to do it with apps. They know that nicotine (whilst being a poison) is also about as addictive as heroin. Once they get a young person hooked, they've got a massive potential future income. No different from drug pushers.

      brendon.nel.7 - 2012-10-23 10:35


      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-10-23 10:38

      Nicotine as addictive as heroin...really?

      danamalan - 2012-10-23 11:40

      @tasneem.sattar.5: Actually, nicotine is MORE addictive than heroin.,9171,149368,00.html

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-10-23 14:15

      harder-to-kickthan, harder-than-quitting, does not equal more addictive than. You diminish the magnitude of the devastation, effort and difficulty of the fight of people (and their families and friends), who are genuinely trying to kick the crippling addiction to heroin with your silly comparison. It is an insult to them and to me. You have no idea what you're talking about, try getting involved and helping these people (or just go talk to or even just observe them and the devestation caused to their families) rather than reading internet pages, if you want a real insight into the problem. Come speak to me again after that.

  • tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-10-23 10:14

    OH EM GEE!!! I don't believe!! SHOCKING STUFF!! Call the cops...IMMEDIATELY.

      danamalan - 2012-10-23 11:43

      Hmm, I'm guessing you're a smoker? Cigarettes are no more than nicotine delivery systems, as defined by the tobacco companies themselves. SIX MILLION people die every year from using tobacco. It is also more addictive than heroin, as scientific studies have shown repeatedly.

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-10-23 13:01

      no, but while there are dangers associated with smoking, I just think there are far worse things in this world. If you look hard enough, you'll find problems with just about anything. People are are big and ugly enough to make their own decisions in life, and to decide their own level of risk they wish to take on, we don't need nanny states and governments dictating what personal choices we make regarding our lives. This is just flavour of the decade, and a soft target for under performing governments looking for easily scored points. Regarding Heroin vs. Nicotine addiction, thats absolute hogwash. I know, I have personal experience having battled both addictions, and I can promise you nicotine doesn't come close (in terms of addiction and damage). By making idiotic uninformed statements like this you insult all those addicts and their families who have had their lives destroyed by this dreadful Poison, heroin. Cigarettes are just more accessible and less risky, so its easier to relapse, ergo the assumption it is as addictive.

  • LanfearM - 2012-10-23 11:09

    Oh please, just get a life! It seems it is really a case these days of you can commit murder, you can rape, you can let thousands starve, just as long as you don't smoke! Pathetic attidue.

      tasneem.sattar.5 - 2012-10-23 13:02


      susanna.smit.7 - 2012-10-23 15:16

      Where are those days one's doctor would take one's temperature with a Pall Mall or Benson n Hedges dangling from the corner of his mouth? I could leave my bicycle on the pavement, leave the front door open for the cat and I thought burglar bars were made only for prisons....'sigh'

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