Tobacco – Product Marketing

Anatomy of a Cigarette
Short & Long Term Effects
Facts & Statistics

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Tobacco Advertising and PromotionJoe Chemo

  • Despite the overwhelming evidence of adverse health effects from tobacco use, the tobacco industry is one of the most heavily marketed consumer products in America. Only the automobile industry markets its products more heavily.1
  • Tobacco is the only legal product in the U.S. that causes death and disability when used as intended.1
  • Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., causing an estimated 440,000 deaths annually, or one in five U.S. deaths.2
  • In 2002, tobacco companies spent a total of $12.47 billion — or more than $34 million a day to promote and advertise their products in the U.S. 2  This represents an increase in spending of 11.1% from the $11.22 billion spent in 2001.3
    Experience the Taste of Smoker's Cough!
  • Promotional allowances, such as payments to retailers for displays and price discounts, accounted for almost 80% of the tobacco companies 2002 spending. Retail value-added promotions, such as buy one pack, get one free accounted for another 10% of 2002 spending.3
  • The tobacco companies’ persuasive advertising and promotion techniques, such as connecting toxic and addictive tobacco products with exciting events and activities, add to the difficulties of reducing both the prevalence and initiation of smoking. Through advertising and promotion, the tobacco industry targets 1.63 million new smokers a year to compensate for those who quit or die.1
  • Certain tobacco products are advertised and promoted disproportionately in culturally diverse communities. Advertising and promotion of cigarette brands with names such as Rio, Dorado, and American Sprit have been marketed toward Hispanics and American Indians/Alaska Natives.4
  • Research suggests that three African American publications — Ebony, Jet, and Essence — receive proportionately higher profits from cigarette advertisements than do mainstream publications.4Smoking - the Perfect Alternative to Health.
  • Women have also been extensively targeted in tobacco marketing. Such marketing is dominated by themes of an association between social desirability, independence, weight control and smoking messages conveyed through advertisements featuring slim, attractive, and athletic models.5
  • As early as the 1920s, tobacco advertising geared toward women included messages such as Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet to establish an association between smoking and slimness.5
  • In 1999, Philip Morris launched a new $40 million campaign targeting women, particularly minority women, with the slogan Find Your Voice. The underlying message of this campaign has been that smoking is related to women’s freedom, emancipation and empowerment. The ads have been featured in a variety of publications such as Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, People, and Essence.5
  • Tobacco advertising also encourages young people to begin a lifelong addiction of smoking before they are old enough to fully understand its long-term health risk. A recent study found that 34% of teen begin smoking as a result of tobacco company promotional activities.6
  • Children ages 10–15 who watch five or more hours of TV per day are six times more likely to start smoking that those who watch less than two hours per day.7
  • 52% of teens with non-smoking parents started smoking because of exposure to smoking in movies.8
  • Over 500,000 pages of tobacco industry documents reveal 15 years of targeted marketing to Asian and Pacific Islander (API) communities. A Lorillard memo (the nation’s oldest and fourth largest tobacco company) described the communities as a potential gold mine.9
  • Tobacco companies are allowed to deduct the cost of advertising and promotion from their taxes as a business expense, which saves them over $1 billion a year in taxes.10
  • 87% of youth smokers smoke the three most heavily advertised brands – Philip Morris’ Marlboro, Lorillard’s Newport, and R.J. Reynolds’ Camel (55% of youth smokers prefer Marlboro) – compared to less than half of adult smokers who prefer these brands.11


Why Joe Camel is Still SmilingWhy Joe Camel is Still Smiling

The tobacco industry loses close to 5,000 customers every day in the U.S. — including 3,500 who manage to quit and about 1,200 who die.12 The most promising “replacement smokers” are young people — 90% of smokers begin before they’re 21, and 60% before they’re 14.13  To find their new customers, U.S. tobacco companies spend more than $12.4 billion a year to market their deadly products — that’s over $34.1 million a day14 — more than the U.S. Federal Office on Smoking & Health spends to prevent smoking in an entire year.15

RJR Nabisco’s Joe Camel campaign is a particularly appalling example of the industry hitting its target. Modeled after James Bond and Don Johnson of Miami Vice,16  Joe Camel has profoundly influenced even the very young. One study showed that nearly one-third of three-year-olds matched Joe Camel with cigarettes and by age six, children were as familiar with him as with Mickey Mouse.17  The cartoonish Camel catapulted Camel cigarettes from a brand smoked by less than 1% of U.S. smokers under age 18 to a one-third share of the youth market — and nearly one-half billion dollars in annual sales within three years.18


Reducing Tobacco Use, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2000
Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report; Vol. 51, No. 14; April 2002
Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2002, Issued in 2004
Tobacco Use Among Minority Groups, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 1998
Women and Smoking, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, 2001
Tobacco Industry Promotion of Cigarettes; JAMA; Vol. 279, No. 7; 1998
Effects of Viewing Smoking In Movies, American Lung Association, 2004
TV Viewing and Youth Smoking Initiation, Pediatrics 2002, 110:505-508
Rogers & Associates
Tobacco Outlook, Economic Research Service; U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, April 2004
National Household Survey on Drug Abuse
The Search For A Safe Cigarette, NOVA (PBS), October 2001
U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services
Federal Trade Commission Report to Congress, 1990
National Survey on Drug Use & Health, SAMHSA, 2003
Joe Smooth for President, AdWeek’s Marketing Week, May 1991
Journal of the American Medical Association, Dec. 1991
Journal of the American Medical Association, Jan. 1993