Futuro Sin Humo

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Futuro sin Humo (Smoke-free Future in English) is a Philip Morris International initiative1 from its Mexico office to promote their line of Next Generation Products. The initiative was launched in 2018, along with the hashtag #futurosinhumo, which translates into “smoke-free future”. Its website describes it as a

“movement is to inform and give voice to smokers and their over-18 years old relatives who are interested in the non-combustion alternatives that are now available in many other countries. We are sure that smokeless products are a better choice for smokers and their introduction in Mexico must be preceded by a debate that includes all stakeholders and is based on scientific evidence.”2

The initiative has a petition for adults to sign to promote the introduction of smoke-free alternatives to Mexico and gain access to more information about Next Generation Products. The website also provides a number of articles about smoking, nicotine and smoke-free alternatives.2 Animal Politico, a Mexican news outlet that has been producing content for Philip Morris International since 2018, has developed the articles. The narrative seeks to frame the habit of smoking traditional cigarettes as a thing of the past and focus on the negative aspects of the smoke rather than tobacco use.

Sports events advertising

The initiative was launched in the Mexican Formula 1 Grand Prix on 28 October 2018, where Futuro sin Humo was one of the main sponsors of the event. During this event the slogan was translated into English. 3. Numerous influencers and celebrities were invited to participate in the F1 launch of Futuro sin Humo and Paddlock Club passes, which allow guests to gain VIP access to the event, were sponsored by the campaign. Furthermore, the F1 Ferrari Scuderia team was wearing the Mission Winnow logo during in the Mexican Grand Prix.
Mexico signed and ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004. This Convention clearly states under Article 13 that: “Any form of tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship should not be permitted in any country that is a Party to the WHO FCTC, under the obligations set out in the Convention, including tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of motor sports events (…) and should cover all forms of tobacco, regardless of how the tobacco is consumed, including novel and emerging tobacco products”.4 The World Health Organization has urged governments to enforce existing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, particularly in Motorsport Sponsorship. Following the promotion at the motor racing event, local and international non-governmental organizations filed a joint complaint against Phillip Morris Mexico, for breaching the General Law on Tobacco Control (2008) and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.5 The complaint argues that the tobacco industry is promoting a product not yet legalized in the country and violating the ban of sports sponsorship. The Coalition, the Consejo Mexicano contra el Tabaquismo and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are the organisations behind the complaint. 6

Celebrities, influencers and social media marketing

Philip Morris Mexico has sponsored several social media influencers to post endorsements for the Futuro sin Humo campaign and e-cigarettes generally. Examples include the famous Mexican journalist Adela Micha, the popular YouTube comedian Chumel Torres, online health journalist Ethel Soriano, TV journalist Yuriria Sierra and the renowned Mexican actor and singer Leonardo de Lozanne.7
In March 2019, Philip Morris Mexico launched a contest under the hashtag #futurosinhumo, called Zona Libre de Humo (Smoke-free zone in English) on the Capptu platform for amateur photographers. The ad for the contest read: “Exemplify the benefits of the non-combustion tobacco product category! When heating tobacco instead of burning it, smoke does not occur. This means less odour in your home and car, and less discomfort for your pet and your partner. Now you can help Philip Morris Mexico illustrate this benefit!”8. Participants submit their photos, describe what smoke-free world means for them and have a chance at winning the prize equivalent in Mexican pesos to nearly £500. Winners and participants get their pictures published as part of the Futuro sin Humo campaign. Participants had to use the hashtag #futurosinhumo and #calientaeltabaconoloquemes on social media platforms. This last hashtag has been recently introduced along with #CalientaNoQuemes, to promote heated tobacco products in other countries.8
The social media campaign of Futuro Sin Humo in Mexico is very similar to others identified in a report by Reuters in May 2019 exposing Philip Morris International’s youth-oriented marketing. This report described an “aggressive marketing strategy rolled out across dozens of countries. From March 2018 to March 2019, social media posts using the hashtag #iqos have been viewed 179 million times on Instagram and Twitter (according to Keyhole, a social media analytics tool)”.9

Tobacco Tactics Resources

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  1. Phillip Morris Mexico,Preguntas Frecuentes, 2018, accessed April 2019
  2. abFuturo Sin Humo website, Futuro Sin Humo, 2018, accessed April 2019
  3. LEY GENERAL PARA EL CONTROL DEL TABACO, 30 May 2008, accessed April 2019
  4. WHO, FCTC Article 13 press release,March 2019, accessed May 2019
  5. General Law for Tobacco Control Mexico, Ley General de Control de Tabaco,2008, accessed May 2019
  6. Mexico SaludHable, https://web.archive.org/web/20190520133321/http://mexicosaludhable.org/2018/11/07/ong-denuncia-a-philip-morris-mexico-por-violar-la-ley/ ONG DENUNCIA A PHILIP MORRIS MÉXICO POR VIOLAR LA LEY, November 7 2018, accessed May 2019
  7. Así se vivió un Futuro sin Humo en la carrera más esperada del año, November 2018, accessed May 2019
  8. abCapptu, Zona Libre de Humo, March 2019, accessed May 2019
  9. Social Media Marketing PMI, Philip Morris Caught Red-Handed Marketing IQOS to Young People on Social Media, 10 May 2019, accessed May 2019