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Tobacco Industry Marketing

Overview

Cigarette and smokeless tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year to market their products.1,2

  • In 2011 (latest data available), cigarette companies spent $8.37 billion on advertising and promotional expenses in the United States alone, up from $8.05 billion in 2010.1
  • The five major U.S. smokeless tobacco manufacturers spent $451.7 million on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2011 (latest data available), an increase from $442.2 million spent in 2010.2

The money cigarette companies spent in 2011 on U.S. marketing amounted to approximately—1,3.4

  • About $23 million per day
  • Almost $27 for every person (adults and children) in the United States per year (according to mid-2011 population of 311,800,000)
  • More than $191 for each U.S. smoker (43.8 million smokers [2011]) aged 18 years or older per year

The following three categories totaled approximately $7.76 billion and accounted for 92.7% of all cigarette company marketing expenditures in 2011:1

  1. Price discounts paid to retailers or wholesalers to reduce the price of cigarettes to consumers ($7 billion)
  2. Promotional allowances paid to cigarette retailers, such as payments for stocking, shelving, displaying, and merchandising particular brands ($357 million)
  3. Promotional allowances paid to cigarette wholesalers, such as payments for volume rebates, incentive payments, value-added services, and promotions ($401 million)

Marketing to Specific Populations

Youth and Young Adults

The three most heavily advertised brands—Marlboro, Newport, and Camel—were the preferred brands of cigarettes smoked by adolescents (ages 12–17 years) and young adults (ages 18–25 years) during 2008–2010.5

Brand Preferences of Adolescents:5

  • 46.2% preferred Marlboro          
  • 21.8% preferred Newport          
  • 12.4% preferred Camel              

  •   16% preferred other brands   
  •  3.5% preferred no usual brand

Brand Preferences of Young Adults:5

  • 46.1% preferred Marlboro          
  • 21.8% preferred Newport          
  • 12.4% preferred Camel              

  • 15.2% preferred other brands   
  •   1.6% preferred no usual brand

Targeting of Youth and Young Adults

There is sufficient evidence to conclude that there is a causal relationship between tobacco company advertising and promotion and the initiation and progression of tobacco use among youth people. There is scientific evidence that shows:5

  • Adolescents are exposed to cigarette advertising.
  • They find the ads appealing.
  • The ads make smoking appear to be appealing.
  • The ads increase adolescents' desire to smoke.

Women

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


Racial/Ethnic Communities

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 targeted African American 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

References

  1. Federal Trade Commission. Cigarette Report for 2011. [PDF–325 KB] Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2013 [accessed 2014 October 15].
  2. Federal Trade Commission. Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2011.
    [PDF–180.59 KB] Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2013 [accessed 2014 October 15].
  3. Census Bureau. 2011 Census Data. Washington: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, 2009[accessed 2014 October 15].
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2011. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2012;61(44):889–94[accessed 2014 October 15].
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: 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, 2012 [accessed 2014 October 15].
  6. 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 2014 October 15].
  7. 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 2014 October 15].
  8. 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 2014 October 15].

For Further Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Office on Smoking and Health
E-mail: tobaccoinfo@cdc.gov
Phone: 1-800-CDC-INFO

Media Inquiries: Contact CDC's Office on Smoking and Health press line at 770-488-5493.

 
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