ESPN helping addict teens to smoking nicotine by John R. Polito

Blog Post created by Thomas3.20.2010 on Apr 1, 2015

Do you trust ESPN with your children? You shouldn't.

It's likely that at this very moment ESPN is inside your child's middle or high school, where it is intentionally trying to entice them to smoke, dip, vape or chew nicotine. Need proof?

The March 30, 2015 edition of ESPN magazine is its 2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) Preview. This edition thrice hurls addiction slowballs at more than 2 million youth readers ages 12-17.

Here, I've added images associated with the three tobacco ads appearing on pages 2 and 3 (Grizzly Long Cut smokeless), page 23 (Natural American Spirit) and page 63 (Newport cigarettes) to ESPN magazine's MLB edition cover (996 x 1240 | 800 x 996 | 398 x 496 ).

Students are first greeted by a two-page Grizzly dip ad inviting them to and to experience Grizzly's "darker," "richer" "flavor." (full size image | 800x490 )

This after baseball lost hall of famer Tony Gwynn at age 54 on June 16, 2014 to oral cancer, which, during a 2011 ESPN special, Tony asserted was caused by his addiction to dipping.

Next, in the spirit of "The Natural," ESPN hits teens with Natural American Spirit (850 x 1205 | 700 x 992 | 300 x 425). Spirits are spirted because they contain up to 35% freebase nicotine (compared to Marlboro's 9.6%), making them one of America's most addictive cigarettes ever.

Does ESPN require that kids be warned that American Spirits are super addictive? No. Instead, it allows the advertisement to suggest that American Spirits may be the healthiest cigarette on the planet, in that they are "100% additive-free natural tobacco" with "organic tobacco & organic menthol."

ESPN's third strike appears on page 62 where teens are invited to "Strike it rich" by experiencing Newport's "premium tobacco pleasure!" (976 x 1250 | 800 x 1025)| 300 x 384).

Still, is it fair to suggest that ESPN is intentionally targeting America's kids for addiction to nicotine? Absolutely!

The mailing address on the front covers of the copies of ESPN magazines I've thumbed through over recent months indicate that ESPN is knowingly mailing tobacco ads into public schools.

Want to get angry too? Pick up the phone and call your child's school (you can quickly get the number by Googling the school's name). Ask for the library or media center. Now, ask if the school subscribes to ESPN magazine and whether they have the MLB Preview edition picturing baseball player Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins on the cover.

If so, kindly ask the librarian if they wouldn't mind looking and telling you what advertisement appears on pages 2 and 3, page 23, and page 62. Last, ask if the school's name clearly appears on the front cover mailing label.

As I reviewed in 2005, since 1989 selective binding technology has allowed magazines to insert or remove any advertisement they wish into or from any magazine edition, allowing them to create multiple advertising versions of the exact same magazine.

It's why ESPN intentionally attacking your child's sanctuary inside their school should be criminal. The presence of so many tobacco ads inside our schools should be a wake-up call for every parent, teacher, librarian, administrator and school board member.

ESPN knows or should know that a child's mind can only withstand so many conscious and subliminal invitations to experiment before their first fateful "what the heck" moment, "let me see what all the fuss is about."

It knows or should know that it may only take a child using a time or two before their brain dopamine pathways begin generating wanting for more.

This is a sports magazine for God's sake! You'd think ESPN would fight to protect the student's ability to breathe instead of addicting them to their lungs gradual destruction, while instantly robbing carbon monoxide inhaling smokers of cardiovascular endurance.

Almost as horrible, ESPN is knowingly undermining physician counseling of smoking patients.

During your next visit to the doctor look closely and reflect upon the subconscious message ESPN is delivering to smoking patients. It's that smoking health concerns can't be that bad if your doctor is forcing them to endure tobacco ads while waiting to see them.

Director of the nation's leading nicotine dependency recovery site, WhyQuit, I call on ESPN to immediately cease and desist in targeting students for addiction to nicotine.

Broader, I implore the nation's Attorneys General to threaten litigation against any magazine knowingly sending nicotine marketing into any public school. For if that isn't targeting, what is?

And I call upon the American Medical Association to flex its muscle in demanding an immediate end to tobacco ads being sent to the office of any subscriber known to be a physician or other health care provider.

Together, we can protect our children from a neo-nicotine industry, and purchased influence, hell bent on enslaving them