Tobacco Industry Marketing
Cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year to market their products.1,2
- In 2006 (latest data available), cigarette companies spent $12.4 billion on advertising and promotional expenses in the United States alone, down from $13.1 billion in 2005, but more than double what was spent in 1997.1
- The five major U.S. smokeless tobacco manufacturers spent $354 million on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2006 (latest data available).2
The money cigarette companies spent in 2006 on U.S. marketing amounted to approximately—
- $34 million per day,
- $42 for every person in the United States, and
- more than $275 for each U.S. smoker aged 18 years or older.1,3,4
The following four categories comprised more than 90% of cigarette company marketing expenditures in 2006:1
- Price discounts paid to retailers or wholesalers to reduce the price of cigarettes ($9 billion, or 74% of total marketing expenditures)
- Promotional allowances, such as payments to retailers or wholesalers for stocking, displaying, and merchandising particular brands ($905 million, or 7% of total marketing expenditures)
- Retail value added involving bonus cigarettes ($817 million, or 6.5% of total marketing expenditures)
- Coupons for smokers to purchase products ($625 million, or 5% of total marketing expenditures)
Marketing to Specific Populations
The three most heavily advertised brands—Marlboro, Newport, and Camel—were the preferred brands of cigarettes smoked by high school and middle school smokers in 2004 and 2006.5
Brand Preferences of Middle School Students:5
- 43% preferred Marlboro
- 26% preferred Newport
- 9% preferred Camel
- 15% preferred other brands
- 7% preferred no usual brand
Brand Preferences of High School Students:5
- 52% preferred Marlboro
- 21% preferred Newport
- 13% preferred Camel
- 10% preferred other brands
- 3% preferred no usual brand
Women have been targeted by the tobacco industry, and tobacco companies have produced brands specifically for women. Marketing toward women is dominated by themes of social desirability and independence, which are conveyed by advertisements featuring slim, attractive, and athletic models.6,7
Advertisement and promotion of certain tobacco products appear to be targeted to members of racial/minority communities.5,7,8
- Marketing to Hispanics and American Indians/Alaska Natives has included advertising and promotion of cigarette brands with names such as Rio, Dorado, and American Spirit.7,8
- The tobacco industry has sponsored events celebrating racial/ethnic pride and culture such as rodeos, dance companies, parades, festivals, and also activities relating to national heritage month observances.7,8
- The tobacco industry has targeted black communities in its advertisements and promotional efforts for menthol cigarettes (e.g., campaigns that use urban culture and language to promote menthol cigarettes, tobacco-sponsored hip-hop bar nights with samples of specialty menthol cigarettes, targeted direct mail promotions).5,7
- Federal Trade Commission. Cigarette Report for 2006[PDF–386.63 KB] Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2009 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- Federal Trade Commission. Smokeless Tobacco Report for the Year 2006.
[PDF–307.77 KB] Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2009 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- Census Bureau. 2006 American Community Survey. Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2007 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2006. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2007;56(44):1157–61 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Brand Preference Among Middle and High School Students Who Are Established Smokers—United States, 2004 and 2006. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2009;58(05):112–15 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2001 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- National Cancer Institute. The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use[PDF–6.35 MB] Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, 2008 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Tobacco Use Among U.S. Racial/Ethnic Minority Groups—African Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 1998 [accessed 2011 Mar 11].
For Further Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.
Get email updates
To receive email updates about Smoking & Tobacco Use, enter your email address:
- CDC/Office on Smoking and Health
4770 Buford Highway
Atlanta, Georgia 30341-3717
TTY: (888) 232-6348