Cigarettes in TV shows

I have finished watching “Narcos” on Netflix. Ever present character: the cigarette. It is not the exception (think about series you have been watching). Think about Mad Men and so many shows. If I was a tobacco company I would employ product placement all over popular TV series, blockbuster movies and so on. Easily concealable if no brand is involved. Who needs to advertise brands (and trigger reaction from antismoking groups) when that can be done easily at the point of sale, as in Brazil? Evidence shows clearly that exposure to tobacco in movies and TV predicts future adoption by teenagers. I remember a paper by Cornelia Pechmann showing increases of tobacco placement in TV in the 80’s after bans on traditional means of advertising. If I was a tobacco company I would also fund some companies to disguise funding to produce content for media outlets (I am not saying this happens, but it would be a tempting course of action in such case). Yes, tobacco consumption has decreased in the US and most Western countries, including Brazil. It seems, however, that the residual share of smokers in the population is very profitable. Moreover, tobacco consumption is blossoming in countries like China, with its huge population. The media machinery seems to be the best tool to engender and bolster social norms in such countries.