Tobacco Advertising and Promotional Expenditures in Sports and Sporting Events—United States, 1992–2013

August 19, 2016 / Vol. 65 / No. 32

MMWR Introduction

Smokeless tobacco has been actively promoted by tobacco companies using endorsements by major sport figures, and research shows that pro-tobacco advertising can lead to youth initiation of tobacco use. In 2010, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited tobacco-brand sponsorship of regulated tobacco products in sports and entertainment events or other social or cultural events. But sponsoring these events is still permitted in the name of the corporation that manufactures the tobacco product as opposed to the brand name.

During 1992–2013, sports-related marketing expenditures, adjusted by the consumer price index (CPI) to constant 2013 dollars, decreased significantly for both cigarettes (from $136 million in 1992, to $0 in 2013) and smokeless tobacco (from $34.8 million in 1992, to $2.1 million in 2013). During 2010–2013, following the prohibition of tobacco brand-sponsorship in sports, cigarette manufacturers reported spending $0 on sports-related advertising and promotional activities; in contrast, smokeless tobacco manufacturers reported a total of $16.3 million advertising and promoting smokeless tobacco in sports during 2010–2013.

These findings indicate that smokeless tobacco products continue to be marketed in sports in the United States. Enhanced measures are warranted to restrict youth-oriented tobacco marketing and promotional activities that could lead to tobacco initiation and use among children and adolescents. In addition, other proven interventions (e.g., tobacco price increases, anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, tobacco-free policies inclusive of smokeless tobacco, and barrier-free access to cessation services), could help reduce smokeless tobacco use in the United States.

MMWR Highlights

Smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in all categories, adjusted to 2013 dollars

  • Total expenditure on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 1992 was $191.5 million.
  • Total expenditure on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2008 was $592.8 million.
  • Total expenditure on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2013 was $503.2 million.

Cigarette advertising and promotion in all categories, adjusted to 2013 dollars

  • Total expenditure on cigarette advertising and promotion in 1992 was $8.7 billion.
  • Total expenditure on cigarette advertising and promotion in 2008 was $10.8 billion.
  • Total expenditure on cigarette advertising and promotion in 2013 was $8.9 billion.

Smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion on sports and sporting events, adjusted to 2013 dollars

  • Sports-related expenditure on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 1992 was $34.8 million.
  • Sports-related expenditure on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2008 was $15.8 million.
  • Sports-related expenditure on smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion in 2013 was $2.1 million.

Cigarette advertising and promotion on sports and sporting events, adjusted to 2013 dollars

  • Sports-related expenditure on cigarette advertising and promotion in 1992 was $136.0 million.
  • Sports-related expenditure on cigarette advertising and promotion in 2008 was $40.0 million.
  • Sports-related expenditure on cigarette advertising and promotion in 2013 was $0.

Proportion of smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion on sports and sporting events

  • In 1992, 18.2% of smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion was spent on sports and sporting events.
  • In 2008, 2.7% of smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion was spent on sports and sporting events.
  • In 2013, 0.4% of smokeless tobacco advertising and promotion was spent on sports and sporting events.

Proportion of cigarette advertising and promotion on sports and sporting events

  • In 1992, 1.6% of cigarette advertising and promotion was spent on sports and sporting events.
  • In 2008, 0.3% of cigarette advertising and promotion was spent on sports and sporting events.
  • In 2013, 0% of cigarette advertising and promotion was spent on sports and sporting events.