Tobacco advertising

Tobacco advertising

Tobacco advertising is the advertising of tobacco products or use (typically cigarette smoking) by the tobacco industry through a variety of media including sponsorship, particularly of sporting events. It is now one of the most highly regulated forms of marketing. Some or all forms of tobacco advertising are banned in many countries.



Advertisement for "Egyptian Deities" cigarettes, showing woman holding package of cigarettes, at the start of the 20th century.

The first known advertisement in the USA was for the snuff and tobacco products of P. Lorillard and Company and was placed in the New York daily paper in 1789. Local and regional newspapers were used because of the small-scale production and transportation of these goods. The first real brand name to become known on a bigger scale in the USA was "Bull Durham" which emerged in 1868, with the advertising placing the emphasis on how easy it was "to roll your own".[1]

The development of color lithography in the late 1870s allowed the companies to create attractive images to better present their products. This led to the printing of pictures onto the cigarette cards, previously only used to stiffen the packaging but now turned into an early marketing concept.[2] By the last quarter of the 19th century, magazines such as Punch carried advertisements for different brands of cigarettes, snuff, and pipe tobacco. Advertising was significantly helped by the distribution of free or subsidized branded cigarettes to troops during World War I and World War II.



Before the 1970s, most tobacco advertising was legal in the United States and most European nations. In the United States, in the 1950s and 1960s, cigarette brands frequently sponsored television shows—most notably To Tell the Truth and I've Got a Secret.

One of the most famous television jingles of the era came from an advertisement for Winston cigarettes. The slogan "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!" proved to be catchy, and is still quoted today. When used to introduce Gunsmoke (gun = smoke), two gun shots were heard in the middle of the jingle just when listeners were expecting to hear the word "cigarette". Other popular slogans from the 1960s were "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!," which was used to advertise Tareyton cigarettes, and "I'd Walk a Mile for a Camel".

In 1954, tobacco companies ran the ad "A Frank Statement." The ad was the first in a campaign to dispute reports that smoking cigarettes could cause lung cancer and had other dangerous health effects.[3]

In the 1950s, manufacturers began adding filter tips to cigarettes to remove some of the tar and nicotine as they were smoked. "Safer," "less potent" cigarette brands were also introduced. Light cigarettes became so popular that, as of 2004, half of American smokers preferred them over regular cigarettes,.[4] According to The Federal Government’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), light cigarettes provide no benefit to smokers' health.[5][6]

In 1964, the Surgeon General of the United States released the Surgeon General's Advisory Committee Report on Smoking and Health. It was based on over 7000 scientific articles that linked tobacco use with cancer and other diseases. This report led to laws requiring warning labels on tobacco products and to restrictions on tobacco advertisements. As these began to come into force, tobacco marketing became more subtle, with sweets shaped like cigarettes put on the market, and a number of advertisements designed to appeal to children, particularly those featuring Joe Camel resulting in increased awareness and uptake of smoking among children.[7] However, restrictions did have an effect on adult quit rates, with its use declining to the point that by 2004, nearly half of all Americans who had ever smoked had quit.[8]

Customer loyalty

Tobacco companies use advertising to drive brand awareness and brand preference amongst smokers, in order to drive sales and to increase brand and customer loyalty. One of the original forms of this was the inclusion of cigarette cards, a collectible set of ephemera.

Target markets

The intended audience of tobacco advertising have changed throughout the years, with some brands specifically targeted towards a particular demographic. According to Reynolds American Inc, the Joe Camel campaign in the United States was created to advertise Camel brand to young adult smokers. Class action plaintiffs and politicians described the Joe Camel images as a "cartoon" intended to advertise the product to people below the legal smoking age. Under pressure from various anti-smoking groups, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Congress, Camel ended the campaign on July 10, 1997.

Tobacco companies have frequently targeted the female market, seeing it as a potential growth area as the largest market segment has traditionally been male. The introduction of the 1960s Virginia Slims brand, and in particular its "You’ve Come a Long Way Baby" and "Slimmer than the fat cigarettes men smoke" campaigns, was specifically aimed at women.[9]

When marketing cigarettes to the developing world, tobacco companies use the Western lifestyle as a mechanism to lure this demographic into purchasing their products.[10] As individuals of the developing world buy into this myth of attaining a successful Western lifestyle through cigarettes, they ignore the health risks associated with it.[10]


Universal Pictures has a "Policy Regarding Tobacco Depictions in Films". In films anticipated to be released in the United States with a G, PG or PG-13 rating, smoking incidents (depiction of tobacco smoking, tobacco-related signage or paraphernalia) appear only when there is a substantial reason for doing so. In that case, the film is released with a health warning in end credits, DVD packaging, etc.[11]

Since May 2007, the Motion Picture Association of America may give a film glamorizing smoking or depicting pervasive smoking outside of a historic or other mitigating context a higher rating.[12]

There have also been moves to reduce the depiction of protagonists smoking in television shows, especially those aimed at children. For example, Ted Turner took steps to remove or edit scenes that depict characters smoking in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo,[13] which are shown on his Cartoon Network and Boomerang television channels.

Video game content rating systems have also looked at the usage of tobacco in video games; a video game depicting the use of tobacco may have a higher rating.


Both Google and Microsoft have policies that outlaw the promotion of tobacco products on their advertising networks.[14][15] However, some tobacco retailers are able to circumvent these policies by creating landing pages that promote tobacco accessories such as cigar humidors and lighters.


Tobacco companies have had particularly large budgets for their advertising campaigns. The Federal Trade Commission claimed that cigarette manufacturers spent $8.24 billion on advertising and promotion in 1999, the highest amount ever at that time. The FTC later claimed that in 2005, cigarette companies spent $13.11 billion on advertising and promotion, down from $15.12 billion in 2003, but nearly double what was spent in 1998. The increase, despite restrictions on the advertising in most countries, was an attempt at appealing to a younger audience, including multi-purchase offers and giveaways such as hats and lighters, along with the more traditional store and magazine advertising.[9]

Marketing consultants ACNielsen announced that, during the period September 2001 to August 2002, tobacco companies advertising in the UK spent £25 million, excluding sponsorship and indirect advertising, broken down as follows:

  • £11 million on press advertising
  • £13.2 million on billboards
  • £714,550 on radio advertising
  • £106,253 on direct mail advertising

Figures from around that time also estimated that the companies spent £8m a year sponsoring sporting events and teams (excluding Formula One) and a further £70m on Formula One in the UK.[16]

The £25 million spent in the UK amounted to approximately $0.60 USD per person in 2002. The 15.12 billion spent in the United States in 2003 amounted to more than $45 for every person in the United States, more than $36 million per day, and more than $290 for each U.S. adult smoker.

Many governments now require tobacco packaging to carry health warnings

The European Union and World Health Organization (WHO) have both specified that the advertising of tobacco should not be allowed. The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into effect on 27 February 2005, requires that all of the 168 countries that agreed to the treaty ban tobacco advertising unless their constitution forbade it.

Some countries also impose legal requirements on the packaging of tobacco products. For example, in the countries of the European Union, Turkey, Australia[17] and South Africa, cigarette packs must be prominently labeled with the health risks associated with smoking.[18] Canada, Australia, Thailand, Iceland and Brazil have also imposed labels upon cigarette packs warning smokers of the effects, and they include graphic images of the potential health effects of smoking. Cards are also inserted into cigarette packs in Canada. There are sixteen of them, and only one comes in a pack. They explain different methods of quitting smoking. Also, in the United Kingdom, there have been a number of graphic NHS advertisements, one showing a cigarette filled with fatty deposits, as if the cigarette is symbolising the artery of a smoker.


In South Africa, the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act was passed in 1999. This act bans all advertising and promotion of tobacco products, including sponsorship and free distribution of tobacco products.


In Malaysia, the displaying of cigarette packets in advertisements with a general warning on long-time smoking that came into effect in June 1976 has been banned since 1995. However, this has not stopped tobacco companies from advertising their products. There are also restrictions on tobacco advertising after the ban of displaying of cigarette packaging, print media advertising is restricted to only one page and advertising on television should not be more than 15 seconds. They have found ways to continue to build their brands by using brand names for a bistro and cybercafes such as Benson & Hedges Bistro and Sampoerna A International Cyberworld, for stationery, accessories, clothing like Dunhill, Marlboro Classics, Davidoff, Perilly's, Pall Mall, John Player Specials, Winfield and Winston. Holiday tours like Mild Seven Seafarers Club, Peter Stuyvesant Travel and Tours, Kent Holidays and Salem Holidays and even in the sponsorship of concerts and entertainment events. All of these are indirect advertising strategies employed by tobacco companies. Tobacco advertising continued without the display of cigarette packaging until January 2003, when the Malaysian federal government banned even such indirect advertising of tobacco brands, except in certain establishments licensed to sell tobacco products. Formula One Grand Prix and other sporting events are still allowed to use tobacco sponsorship. In Pakistan, from approximately 2000 advertising has been banned on TV, signboards or anywhere else, and was only also through direct marketing to person who is buying from shop till 2010 and company uses to give free cigarettes to them, and now in Pakistan it is also not permitted to give free cigarettes to anyone who is purchasing from a shop.

They also have banned the sale of tobacco to underage people in an effort to crack down on underage smoking.

In 2009, Malaysian government halted the branding of cigarettes as "light" or "mild" on all smoking packages and has decided to place graphic images on the cigarette packs to show the adverse long-term effects of excessive smoking.

Tobacco advertising on Hong Kong television was outlawed on December 1, 1993, when the territory was still a British colony. However, some sporting events was allowed to be sponsored by tobacco companies until it was abandoned by the government in July 1999. It took some years before it was removed from buses and trams until it was completely banned in November 2009.[19]

In Singapore, tobacco advertising was completely banned on 1 March 1971, whereby all kinds of advertising on newspapers and magazines was strictly prohibited, under the Prohibition of Advertisements relating to Smoking Act, 1970. Tobacco advertisements on radio, television and on neon signs ceased on 31 December 1970, after which only anti-smoking slogans were permitted to be broadcast on television and radio. With the ban on tobacco advertisements for the purpose of anti-smoking, the Ministry of Culture had appealed to coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, canteens, snack bars and bars to co-operate with the government to remove all posters, signs and other forms of advertisements relating to smoking. A Smoking Advertisement Unit was set up by the Ministry, and officers were located in areas that had any type of tobacco advertisement within the few months before the blanket ban on tobacco advertising kicked off on 1 March 1971. [20] Twenty-one years later, in 1992, cigarette advertising in foreign magazines was banned in Singapore.

Singapore similarly requires cigarette manufacturers to print images of mouths, feet and blood vessels adversely affected by smoking.[21][22]

In Indonesia, tobacco advertising is still allowed, but showing the cigarette packaging is outlawed. Broadcast of tobacco advertising on Indonesian television is only allowed from 9:30 pm until 5:00 am. Smoking warnings are also shown in the end of the advertisement explaining "Smoking can cause cancer, heart attack, impotency and problems during pregnancy as well as affect the health of the newborn".


All tobacco advertising and sponsorship on television has been banned within the European Union since 1991 under the Television Without Frontiers Directive (1989).[23] This ban was extended by the Tobacco Advertising Directive, which took effect in July 2005 to cover other forms of media such as the internet, print media, radio, and sports event like F1. The directive does not include advertising in cinemas and on billboards or using merchandising – or tobacco sponsorship of cultural and sporting events which are purely local, with participants coming from only one Member State[24] as these fall outside the jurisdiction of the European Commission. However, most member states have transposed the directive with national laws that are wider in scope than the directive and cover local advertising. A 2008 European Commission report concluded that the directive had been successfully transposed into national law in all EU member states, and that these laws were well implemented.[25]

In 2003, the European Union halted the branding of cigarettes as "light" or "mild", saying that this misleads consumers about the dangers of smoking. Stark health warnings such as "Smoking Kills" must now cover at least 30 percent of the front of each packet and 40 percent of the back, and an even greater area where messages are printed in more than one national language.[26]

Many nations, including Russia and Greece,[citation needed] still allow billboards advertising tobacco use. Tobacco smoking is still advertised in special magazines, during sporting events, in gas stations and stores, and in more rare cases on television. Some nations, including the UK and Australia, have begun anti-smoking advertisements to counter the effects of tobacco advertising.

In Ukraine, tobacco advertising "in all printed mass media" is forbidden since January 1, 2010.[27]

Some countries, like Finland and Greece have outlawed tobacco advertising on television and radio prior to the ban in 1991.


Tobacco advertising on radio, television and billboards is illegal. From 1 July 2009, in-store tobacco advertising and displays of tobacco were made illegal - Ireland being the first country in the EU (and third in the world, after Canada and Iceland) to do so.[28]

United Kingdom

The relevant EU directives banning tobacco advertising apply within the United Kingdom, in addition to UK laws restricting tobacco advertising.

Surreal Benson & Hedges poster at Victoria Station, London, c.1978

The first calls to restrict advertising came in 1962 from the Royal College of Physicians, who highlighted the health problems and recommended stricter laws on the sale and advertising of tobacco products. In 1971, an agreement between the government and the tobacco industry saw the inclusion of health warnings on all cigarette packets. All television commercials for cigarettes were banned on 1 August 1965, although commercials for loose tobacco and cigars continued until 1991.[29][30]

Non-television advertising campaigns were still allowed in the UK but came under stricter guidelines in 1986, which in particular, prevented adverts from actually showing a person smoking. The tobacco producers responded with increasingly indirect and abstract campaigns, among which those of Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut became particularly recognisable. Until about the mid 1990s many corner shops, newsagents and off licences had on their shop signs prominent branding by cigarette brands such as Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Regal etc. until the practice was outlawed.

As part of their 1997 election campaign, the Labour Party pledged to ban all advertising of tobacco products. This legislation was passed as the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002,[31] which banned most remaining forms of advertising according to the following timescale:

It was banned in Scotland, by the Scottish parliament in 2001.[32]

Date What was banned
14 February 2003 General advertising
14 May 2003 Promotions
30 July 2003 Sponsorship of sporting events within the UK
May 2004 Particular advertisements in tobacconists
21 December 2004 Large adverts in shops, pubs and clubs
31 July 2005 Sponsorship of excepted global events; brandsharing

Several exemptions from this legislation remain:

  • Advertisements that appear within the tobacco industry
  • Advertisements in publications that are not primarily aimed at a British audience
  • Advertisements in pubs, clubs and shops, as long as the advert's total size does not exceed that of an A5 piece of paper, with 30% of that being taken up by government health warnings.[33]
  • Advertisements other than those for cigarettes or hand-rolling tobacco within specialist tobacconists if the sale of cigars, snuff, pipe tobacco and smoking accessories accounts for over 50% of their sales
  • Direct mail that has been specifically requested

While cigarette vending machines were still allowed in licensed premises (until 1st October 2011 when a full UK ban came into force) they were only allowed to display a picture of what was available (one image per brand) and no advertisements could be included on the machine.

Finally, cigarette vending machines were then banned in public areas of all UK pubs, clubs and restaurants as from 1st October 2011, with a fine of £2500 for non-compliance.[34]

Famous UK tobacco advertising campaigns have included "Welcome to Marlboro Country", "You're never alone with a Strand", which led to Strand Cigarettes being taken off the market, and "Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet".


France has the additional requirement of listing on the side of all packaging the percentages of tobacco present, compared to the weight of the paper and additives present. For one U.S. manufacturer of cigarettes sold in France, the side list indicates only 85.0% is tobacco, 9.0% are the additives, and paper constitutes another 6.0% of the total weight of a cigarette. Filters are not part of the formula.

The additives are a syrup sprayed on the chopped tobacco leaf on the conveyor belt and is a combination of the 599 additive ingredients as submitted to Member of Congress Henry Waxman in a 50 page list by the five major U.S. tobacco companies during his Congressional Hearings on April 14, 1994.


In Italy, advertising of tobacco products has been banned since 1962,[35] with a few subsequent changes to the law in 1983[36] and 2004.[37]


In Serbia, tobacco advertising on television, on billboards and in printed media is banned, but advertisements for cigarettes are found within shops and kiosks.[38]

North America

United States

In the United States, in the 1950s and 1960s, cigarette brands were frequently sponsors of television programs. One of the most famous television jingles of the era came from an advertisement for Winston cigarettes. The slogan "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!" proved to be catchy. Another popular slogan from the 1960s was "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!," which was used to advertise Tareyton cigarettes.

In June 1967, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that programs broadcast on a television station that discussed smoking and health were insufficient to offset the effects of paid advertisements that were broadcast for five to ten minutes each day. "We hold that the fairness doctrine is applicable to such advertisements," the Commission said. The FCC decision, upheld by the courts, essentially required television stations to air anti-smoking advertisements at no cost to the organizations providing such advertisements.

In April 1970, Congress passed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act banning the advertising of cigarettes on television and radio starting on January 2, 1971. [2] The Virginia Slims brand was the last commercial shown, with "a 60-second revue from flapper to Female Lib", shown at 11:59 p.m. on January 1 during a break on The Tonight Show.[39] Smokeless tobacco ads, on the other hand, remained on the air until a ban took effect on August 28, 1986.[40] Recently, even further restrictions took effect under the newly enacted Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Effective June 22, 2010, the new regulations prohibit tobacco companies from sponsoring sports, music, and other cultural events. Also, tobacco companies can no longer display their logos or advertise their products on T-shirts, hats, or other apparel. Eventually, the law is planned to require almost all tobacco advertisements to consist of black text on a white background, but the constitutionality of that requirement has come under scrutiny.[41]

After 1971, most tobacco advertising was done in magazines, newspapers and on billboards. Since the introduction of the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act all packaging and advertisements must display a health warning from the Surgeon General. In November 2003, tobacco companies and magazine publishers agreed to cease the placement of advertisements in school library editions of four magazines with a large group of young readers: Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek.[42]

A 1994 report by the Surgeon General, "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People," asserted: “When young people no longer want to smoke the epidemic itself will die.” [43] A critical task of public health was counteracting the “indoctrination” of the young when they were most susceptible. Hence the report dismissed as “misguided” the debate as to whether cigarette promotion “caused” young people to smoke; the conclusion was that “Whether causal or not, [promotion] fosters the uptake of smoking, initiating for many a dismal and relentless chain of events”[44]

The first known advertisement was for the snuff and tobacco products of P. Lorillard and Company and was placed in the New York daily paper in 1789. Advertising was an emerging concept, and tobacco-related adverts were not seen as any different from those for other products: their negative impact on health was unknown at the time. Local and regional newspapers were used because of the small-scale production and transportation of these goods. The first real brand name to become known on a bigger scale was "Bull Durham" which emerged in 1868, with the advertising placing the emphasis on how easy it was "to roll your own".

The development of color lithography in the late 1870s allowed the companies to create attractive images to better present their products. This led to the printing of pictures onto the cigarette cards, previously only used to stiffen the packaging but now turned into an early marketing concept.[2]

Billboards are a major venue of cigarette advertising (10% of Michigan billboards advertised alcohol and tobacco, according to the Detroit Free Press[45] ). They made the news when, in the tobacco settlement of 1999, all cigarette billboards were replaced with anti-smoking messages. In a parody of the Marlboro Man, some billboards depicted cowboys riding on ranches with slogans like "I miss my lung, Bob."

America's first regular television news program, Camel News Caravan, was sponsored by Camel Cigarettes and featured an ashtray on the desk in front of the newscaster and the Camel logo behind him. The show ran from 1949 to 1956.


In Canada, advertising of tobacco products was prohibited by the Tobacco Products Control Act as of 1988 and all tobacco products must show attributed warning signs on all packaging. Immediately following the passing of the legislation through parliament, RJR-MacDonald (RJR-MacDonald Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General)) filed suit against the Government of Canada through the Quebec Superior Court. It was argued that the act, which originally called for unattributed warnings, was a violation of the right to free speech. In 1991, the Quebec Superior Court ruled in favour of the tobacco companies, deciding that the act violated their right to free speech under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as being ultra vires. The Crown subsequently appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

On September 21, 1995 the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the Tobacco Products Control Act as legal, forcing the tobacco companies operating in Canada to print hazard warnings on all cigarette packs. However, the Court struck down the requirement that the health warnings be unattributed, as this requirement violated the right to free speech, further ruling that it was in the federal government's jurisdiction to pass such laws, as it fell under the peace, order and good government clause. Recently, sin taxes have been added to tobacco products, with the objective of decreasing usage by making the products less affordable. Currently, radio ads, television commercials, event sponsoring, promotional giveaways and other types of brand advertising are prohibited as well as in-store product displays. However, certain forms of advertising are permitted, such as print advertisements in magazines with an adult readership of 85% minimum.

Until 2003, tobacco manufacturers got around this restriction by sponsoring cultural and sporting events, such as the Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire (a fireworks display in Toronto and Vancouver), which allowed the manufacturers' names and logos to appear in advertisements sponsoring the events, and at the venues. The ban on tobacco sponsorship was a major factor that led to the near-cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and the du Maurier Ltd Classic, a women's golf tournament on the LPGA tour (now known as the Canadian Women's Open).

In May 2008, retail displays of cigarettes in convenience stores in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia have been outlawed. They are now all hidden.[46]



The Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 expressly prohibited almost all forms of Tobacco advertising in Australia, including the sponsorship of sporting or other cultural events by cigarette brands. Domestic sporting and cultural events were allowed to have sponsorships run their course, but were no longer allowed to enter into new or renew existing sponsorships. By 1998, all domestic sponsorships had expired naturally.

The Federal Minister for Health and Ageing was given the right to grant exemptions to events "of international significance" that "would be likely to result in the event not being held in Australia" should tobacco advertising be forbidden. A clause in the act forbade events applying for an exemption after 1 October 2000, unless they had previously been granted one. By 2006, this had led to only two events being eligible - the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. A further clause removed the Ministers right to grant any exemptions for any event held after 1 October 2006. The Australian Formula One Grand Prix 2007 therefore featured no tobacco advertising of any sort.

Currently in Australia, a large portion of the cigarette packaging are covered in graphic images of the effects of smoking as well as information about the names and numbers of chemicals and annual death rates. Television ads accompany them, including video footage of smokers struggling to breathe in hospital. Since then, the number of smokers has been reduced by one quarter.[citation needed]

In April 2010, the Australian government announced plans to prohibit the use of tobacco industry logos, colours, brand imagery or promotional text of tobacco product packaging from 2012, requiring that brand names and product names be displayed in a standard colour, font style and position in a policy known as "plain packaging".[47]

New Zealand

Tobacco advertising in New Zealand was outlawed with the passage of the Smokefree Amendment Act 1990.

Prior to this, in 1963 advertisements for tobacco products were withdrawn from radio and television. A decade later in 1973, cigarette advertising was banned on billboards and in cinemas, and print media advertising was restricted to half a newspaper page.

In 1995 all remaining tobacco advertising and sponsorship was banned except for point-of-sale advertising and some tobacco sponsorship exemptions. Point-of-sale advertising ceased on 11 December 1998.

Upon point-of-sale advertising being finally banned in New Zealand there are other examples of tobacco advertising that will still remain. These include the use of tobacco packets as advertisements, exempted tobacco sponsorships, tobacco advertising and sponsorship in imported magazines and on cable television as well as the usual tobacco imagery in movies and television.

Health warnings are also placed on all tobacco products.

Anti-smoking advertising

Anti-smoking groups, particularly cancer charities, along with many government health departments have attempted to counter the advertising of tobacco by creating their own advertisements to highlight the negative effects of smoking. The earliest commercials mainly focused on aiding smoking cessation, the increased risk of lung cancer and the problems associated with passive smoking. However, they have become increasingly hard-hitting over the years, with some campaigns now centered around decreased physical attractiveness[48] and the risk of erectile dysfunction.[49] These are more targeted towards younger smokers than previous campaigns. The British government spent £31 million in 2003 as part of their anti-smoking campaign.[50]

In 2005 the European Union launched the "For a life without tobacco" campaign in all its constituent countries to help people quit smoking.[51]

In 2007 and 2008, the New York City Department of Health launched a series of anti-tobacco ad campaigns to promote the city's Quitline and a free nicotine patch and gum program. The first TV spots, "Smoking is Eating You Alive" and "Smoking is Eating You and Your Kids Alive," depict the damage smoking can do to the body. The ads were noted for their graphic nature[52] as well as their effectiveness. The second series of ads launched April 16, 2008.[53] In these, a 58-year-old woman and longtime smoker called "Marie" describes the amputations and pain she has undergone since developing Buerger's disease, a condition that limits blood flow through the arteries and which was tied to her smoking habit.[54]

The Marlboro Man was one of the most successful cigarette advertising campaigns, lasting from the 1960s to the 1990s. The Marlboro brand was promoted by various cowboys, with Wayne McLaren posing for some promotional photographs in 1976. He died of lung cancer in 1992, having appeared in a television spot showing him in a hospital bed. That image was juxtaposed with him during the promotional shoot, with a voiceover warning about the dangers of smoking.[55]


Tobacco advertising has been hand-in-hand with many sports internationally. Below are some sports.

Formula One auto racing

Gold Leaf-sponsored Lotus from 1971
Marlboro sponsored Ferrari (photo from 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix)
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro car from 2009
A Team Penske Marlboro-sponsored car in 1994
A Team Penske Verizon-sponsored car in 2009, with an unbranded Marlboro scheme.

Ever since the first appearance of the Red, Gold and White colors of the Imperial Tobacco's Gold Leaf brand sponsorship livery at the 1968 Monaco Grand Prix,[56] teams, drivers and circuits of Formula One (F1) for years had been heavily dependent on the financial backing of sponsors and from the arrival of Gold Leaf for many decades the tobacco industry played a major role in sponsoring the sport.[57] In 1976, West Germany began a trend in outlawing tobacco sponsorships in motor races, followed by the United Kingdom in 1984, starting with major races and outlawing the rest of the sponsorships in later years. In 1992 France did the same.[58] As anti-smoking legislation began to tighten in many parts of the world F1 became an even more important opportunity for cigarette brand promotion. The negotiating skills of the F1 leadership (especially Bernie Ecclestone) were such that in many jurisdictions F1 achieved some exemptions from the rules.[58] However, there is now a blanket ban on advertising in Europe, and the cars are not allowed to show any links with the tobacco companies. As a result, tobacco advertising started to exit F1. In 2000, WilliamsF1 became the first major team to run without tobacco sponsorship,[59] and McLaren later replaced the West brand and no longer have any tobacco sponsors. Renault ended the deal with Mild Seven after the 2006 season, and in the same year British American Tobacco, owners of British American Racing team[60] withdrew from F1, selling the team to Honda. Ferrari on the other hand renewed their arrangements with Philip Morris in 2005 and later in 2011.[61] [62]

Through the arrangement, the Marlboro brand in 2007 was legally visible prominently on the cars, jumpsuits and pit crew at three races: at the Bahrain,[63] Monaco and Chinese Grands Prix. Ferrari was the only team backed by a cigarette brand in the 2007 Formula One season. Since the start of the 2008 season, Ferrari has no longer carried Marlboro logos at any races, even those at which tobacco advertising is allowed. It is therefore unlikely that any F1 car will ever directly advertise tobacco again. However the barcode symbol that was used for some time was "subliminally" suggestive of the Marlboro branding, and signified their sponsorship. For part of 2010 and onwards, Ferrari no longer had the barcode symbol; the only signification of sponsorship was the team name, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, although the team's logo showed the left side of the Marlboro chevron.[64] However, from the 2011 British Grand Prix, Ferrari dropped the Marlboro sponsor from their official name, and reverted to the name Scuderia Ferrari as their official name, due to ongoing pressure from people against tobacco sponsorship.[65]

IndyCar auto racing

From the inception of Marlboro's "Marlboro chevron" advertising in CART in the late 1980s until 2009, the Patrick, and later Penske, teams, in CART (1986–2001) and IRL (2002–09) were painted in full Marlboro livery and carried the colours. In international CART events where tobacco advertising was banned, in the IRL races in 2001 (because of Master Settlement Agreement restrictions), and in 2008 and 2009, the cars kept the colours but simply stated "Team Penske". From 2002 until 2007, the cars were branded "Marlboro Team Penske."

The Marlboro colours disappeared after the 2009 season, when Verizon replaced Marlboro as the primary sponsor for the #12 car, and the Verizon livery was attached to the #3 and #6 cars. For 2011, the #3 and #6 cars will likely switch to a yellow and red Shell livery to reflect the Anglo-Dutch oil giant's sponsorship of the Penske organisation. The #12 car will keep its Verizon livery. Ironically, Verizon uses tobacco-styled livery on its NASCAR sponsorship because of a ban on wireless advertising in 2009 and 2010 before being forced out.

NASCAR auto racing

The logo that was used for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the early 90s.

The NASCAR Championship, now associated with Sprint, was sponsored by R.J. Reynolds until 2003 when Reynolds announced they were unable to continue the sponsorship.

NASCAR's top series found sponsorship from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) in the early 1970s following the U.S. ban on television advertising of cigarettes. The "Winston Cup" became the top competitive series, and later, some other regional series under NASCAR were also sponsored by the tobacco company (for example, the "Winston West" series). In the mid-1970s, some races began to get partial television coverage, frequently on the ABC sports variety show, Wide World of Sports. While Winston was not able to do commercial advertisements, their name was all over television during races. Over the many years of their relationship with NASCAR, Winston sponsored several races and prize programs including the Winston 500, The Winston all-star race, the Winston Western 500 and the 1985–1997 Winston Million, which awarded a million dollars to a driver who could win a "small slam" of the sport's four Grand Slam events in the same year. From 1998 to 2002, the Winston No Bull 5, a more complex award system, was used. Each year, there were five races (initially the four majors and Indianapolis) selected to be a part of this promotion. Each driver who finished in the top 5 in the previous No Bull 5 race was eligible to win in the next race selected, along with a fan. If one of the eligible drivers won that race, they were awarded with a million dollar bonus.

Jimmy Spencer's RJR-sponsored Camel Ford in 1997

In addition, R.J. Reynolds sponsored its own car for three years with Camel colors. It was driven by Jimmy Spencer.

On February 5, 2003, R. J. Reynolds informed NASCAR that their five-year extension to sponsor NASCAR's premier division signed in July 2002 could be dissolved because of economic concerns at the company, in what turned out to be one of two major sponsorship losses at the sanctioning body. Earlier in the year, ConocoPhillips, which made the 76 brand of fuel, announced it would withdraw from NASCAR at the end of the 2003 season.

On June 19, 2003, NASCAR announced at the NASDAQ MarketSite a new ten-year deal with Nextel Communications starting in the 2004 season, as the familiar red was replaced with Nextel yellow (Nextel's new colours were announced after the deal had been signed), and starting in September 2005, NASCAR began replacing Nextel logos with Sprint logos started appearing in reference to the new sponsor.

One major change NASCAR was able to market with Nextel was the series advertising banners. Whereas in the past, Winston signs could only state "Winston", "Winston Cup Series", or later "NASCAR Winston Cup Series", with some early era Victory Lane banners stating "The Taste of Victory", Nextel was able to use advertising to market itself better, which included "Speed Meets Speed", "The Car Phone Reborn", and "Finish Faster" positioned next to the Nextel Cup logo. When the advertising was rebranded with the Sprint banner, the Turn 11 bridge at Watkins Glen International was rebranded, with new Sprint advertising featuring the tagline "Sprint ahead".[66]

Smaller tobacco companies not covered by the Master Settlement Agreement have attempted sponsorship for portions of the season or circuits. Bailey's, a small tobacco company based in Virginia, featured in 2005 sponsorship of selected races for the Bobby Hamilton Racing team based in Tennessee, and has been the longtime sponsor of the Bailey's 300 at Martinsville Speedway for late model race cars in the region which race at NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. Drivers in that race have advanced to NASCAR's three national series, with Denny Hamlin having participated in the race.

Nicorette tobacco cessation product sponsorship

In 2005, GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturer of Goody's Headache Powder, a NASCAR sponsor since 1977, expanded their long-term sponsorship by adding their Nicorette brand of smoking cessation product as a NASCAR official sponsor, and signed with Chip Ganassi Racing and also longtime Goody's Headache Powder (another GSK brand) spokesman and former smoker, Richard Petty would lead their "Commit to Quit" program.

GSK changed its marketing program in 2006, moving to other brands with Ganassi Racing, while Jeff Gordon became GSK's Nicorette leader, with a Nicorette car for two races.


Snooker was badly hit by the British ban on tobacco sponsorship, with several tournaments losing their financial backers. These included:

The World Snooker Championship was given special dispensation from the European Union directive until 2005. The Masters went without any sponsorship in 2004, before receiving the backing of Rileys Club the following year. Some players spoke out against the ban, worried that the game would not be able to survive without the financial backing of the tobacco companies.[67][68]

Other sports

Various sports have relied on sponsorship money from tobacco companies, both for the participants and for competitions.


With the restrictions placed on general advertising, tobacco companies have moved to new promotions to establish new customers and maintain existing ones. For example Altria has a strategy of growth by promotions that build brand equity through adult consumer experiences.[70] The intent is to reinforce brand loyalty by building consumer communities.

One example is Marlboro's Outwit the West, a 'by-invitation if you're a smoker' 4-member team-based 'competition' with a series of cryptic brain teasers. The top 20 teams get invited to the Marlboro ranch, a location where it's 'okay to smoke' and food, drinks and activities are paid for by the company. The team with the most correct answers shares a one million dollar prize. Thousands of teams participate.

More generally, Marlboro has been using its mailing database (estimated at 26 million in 2005[71] ) to promote directly with giveaways and general invitations to the Marlboro Ranch. Reinforcement is provided by branded products and by peers.

Social Networking and the Internet. EPC CIGAR COMPANY launched a social networking and internet campaign to market cigars.[72]


The actual effectiveness of tobacco advertisement is widely documented. According to Henry Saffer, public health experts say that tobacco advertising increases cigarette consumption and there is much empirical literature that finds a significant effect of tobacco advertising on smoking, especially in children.[73][74][75][76][77][78][79][80] However, Saffer and Chaloupka's empirical results are largely due to "data mining" and do not account for endogeneity of bans.[81] A meta-analysis of the econometric literature is found in J.P. Nelson, "Cigarette Advertising Regulation: A Meta-Analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, 26(2), June 2006, pp. 195-226. A critical review of longitudinal studies is found in J. P. Nelson, "What is Learned from Longitudinal Studies of Advertising and Youth Drinking and Smoking? A Critical Assessment," International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health, 7(3), March 2010, pp. 870-926.[82]


Belomorkanal - Russian cigarettes  
Hans Rudi Erdt: Problem Cigarettes, 1912  
French Painted Mural Advertisement  
Tobacco display in Munich  
Advertisement for "Murad" Turkish cigarettes 1918  
Advertisement for "Egyptian Deities" cigarettes 1919  

See also



  1. ^ Bull Durham - Old West Durham Neighborhood Association, North Carolina
  2. ^ a b More About Tobacco Advertising and the Tobacco Collections
  3. ^ Daily Doc: TI, Jan 4, 1954: The 'Frank Statement' of 1954. 30 September 2000. Accessed 17 July 2009.
  4. ^ Light but just as deadly, by Peter Lavelle. The Pulse, October 21, 2004.
  5. ^ The Truth About "Light" Cigarettes: Questions and Answers, from the National Cancer Institute factsheet
  6. ^ 'Safer' cigarette myth goes up in smoke, by Andy Coghlan. New Scientist, 2004
  7. ^ While D, Kelly S, Huang W, Charlton A (17 August 1996). "Cigarette advertising and onset of smoking in children: questionnaire survey". BMJ 313 (7054): 398–9. PMC 2351819. PMID 8761227. 
  8. ^ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (November 2005). "Cigarette smoking among adults—United States, 2004". MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep. 54 (44): 1121–4. PMID 16280969. 
  9. ^ a b Statement: Surgeon General’s Report on Women and Tobacco Underscores Need for Congress to Grant FDA Authority Over Tobacco (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)
  10. ^ a b Nichter, M., and Elizabeth Cartwright 1991. Saving the Children for the Tobacco Industry. MEDICAL ANTRHOPOLOGY QUARTERLY 5 (3):236- 256.
  11. ^ Universal Pictures' "Policy Regarding Tobacco Depictions in Films"
  12. ^ Film rating board to consider smoking as a factor
  13. ^ Turner to ax smoking scenes from cartoons
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Tobacco - Health warnings Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. Retrieved August 29, 2008.
  18. ^ Public Health at a Glance - Tobacco Pack Information
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  20. ^ Blanket Ban on Cigarette Ads from March 1, The Singapore Herald, 6 Feb 1971
  21. ^ Coming: new anti-smoking warnings, Arti Mulchand, The Straits Times, 17 May 2006
  22. ^ New gory images to jolt smokers to quit, Arti Mulchand, The Straits Times, 3 June 2006
  23. ^ Television Without Frontiers Directive 1989
  24. ^  European Union - Tobacco advertising ban takes effect 31 July 
  25. ^
  26. ^ EU Stops "Light" and "Mild" Cigarette Branding (10/02/03)
  27. ^ Tobacco, alcohol advertising bans take effect in printed media, Kyiv Post (January 1, 2010)
  28. ^ "Philip Morris Limited and Independent Retailer Announce Joint Lawsuit Challenging Irish Tobacco Display Ban". Reuters. 5 October 2009. 
  29. ^ Jenkins, Stephanie. "Cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco". UK television adverts 1955–1990. United Kingdom: Headington, Oxford. Retrieved 2009-04-17. "Cigarette and tobacco advertising was banned from UK television in 1965, while cigar advertising was banned in 1991." 
  30. ^ "Classic Ads". Spots and Spot Innovation, TV Toolbox. London SW1P 1JA, United Kingdom: Thinkbox TV Ltd. 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-17. "Cigar commercials were banned from our screens in 1991" 
  31. ^ Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 (c. 36)
  32. ^ Christie B (July 28, 2001). "Scottish parliament urged to ban tobacco advertising". BMJ. 323 (7306): 184. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7306.184/a. PMC 1172784. 
  33. ^ BBC NEWS | Health | Tobacco advert rules introduced
  34. ^
  35. ^ L. 10-4-1962 n. 165 Divieto della propaganda pubblicitaria dei prodotti da fumo. Pubblicata nella Gazz. Uff. 30 aprile 1962, n. 111. (in Italian)
  36. ^ L. 22-2-1983 n. 52 Conversione in legge, con modificazioni, del decreto-legge 10 gennaio 1983, n. 4, concernente regime fiscale degli apparecchi di accensione, variazione delle relative aliquote di imposta di fabbricazione, disposizioni sulla reggenza degli uffici dell'Amministrazione autonoma dei monopoli di Stato e modifiche delle sanzioni per le violazioni al divieto di pubblicità ai prodotti da fumo. Pubblicata nella Gazz. Uff. 26 febbraio 1983, n. 56. (in Italian)
  37. ^ D.Lgs. 16-12-2004 n. 300 Attuazione della direttiva 2003/33/CE in materia di pubblicità e di sponsorizzazione dei prodotti del tabacco. Pubblicato nella Gazz. Uff. 20 dicembre 2004, n. 297. (in Italian)
  38. ^ "Serbia 2003". World Health Organization. 
  39. ^ "Cigarette Commercials Ended With $1M Fling," The News (Frederick, Md.), January 2, 1972, p1
  40. ^ "Smokeless tobacco ads banned on TV," Atchison (Kan.) Daily Globe, August 28, 1986, p1;
  41. ^ "Regulations Restricting the Sale and Distribution of Cigarettes and Smokeless Tobacco". Food and Drug Administration. 
  42. ^ Tobacco Ads Will Be Removed from School Magazines
  43. ^ "Preventing Tobacco Use Among Young People: A Report of the Surgeon General" [1]
  44. ^ Bayer R (March 2002). "Tobacco, commercial speech, and libertarian values: the end of the line for restrictions on advertising?". Am J Public Health 92 (3): 356–9. doi:10.2105/AJPH.92.3.356. PMC 1447076. PMID 11867307. 
  45. ^ ACS:: December Mixed Month for Tobacco Opponents
  46. ^ "Cigarette display ban begins in Quebec, Ontario". CBC News. 31 May 2008. 
  47. ^ "Cigarettes to be sold in plain packets from 2012". News Limited. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  48. ^ Stop smoking start living - Home
  49. ^ Stop smoking start living - Home
  50. ^ "Has the tobacco ad ban worked?". BBC News. 13 February 2004. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  51. ^ HELP - For a life without tobacco
  52. ^ New York Post "Ads Turn TV into an 'Eww'Tube" Andrea Peyser March 17, 2008
  53. ^ NYC Department of Health Press Release: "Health Department Launches Nicotine Patch and Gum Giveaway; New TV Ads Feature Marie, a Bronx Smoker who Quit by Calling 311" April 16, 2008
  54. ^ NY1 News "Former Smoker's Story Is Latest Weapon In City's Anti-Smoking Campaign" Kafi Drexel April 15, 2008
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  59. ^ Gray, Will (15 April 2003). "Formula One: Williams reverse tobacco trend". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
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  62. ^ "Marlboro extend Ferrari sponsorship deal to 2015". F1Fanatic. 14 June 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
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  64. ^
  65. ^ Cooper, Adam (8 July 2011). "Ferrari Drops Marlboro From Team Name". (Speed). Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
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  67. ^ BBC SPORT | Other Sports | Snooker | Davis and Hendry demand change
  68. ^ BBC SPORT | Other Sports | Snooker | Davis attacks tobacco ban
  69. ^, cricket channel - Ban on tobacco sponsorship may hit sport]
  70. ^ Altria - Media - Press Release - 11/05/2004 - 01
  71. ^ Leader Of The Packs
  72. ^ Levere, Jane L. (25 February 2010). "Choosing a Marketing Plan: Traditional or Social Media?". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 April 2010. 
  73. ^ Botvin GJ, Goldberg CJ, Botvin EM, Dusenbury L (1993). "Smoking behavior of adolescents exposed to cigarette advertising". Public Health Rep 108 (2): 217–24. PMC 1403364. PMID 8464979. 
  74. ^ Evans N, Farkas A, Gilpin E, Berry C, Pierce JP (October 1995). "Influence of tobacco marketing and exposure to smokers on adolescent susceptibility to smoking". J Natl Cancer Inst. 87 (20): 1538–45. doi:10.1093/jnci/87.20.1538. PMID 7563188. 
  75. ^ Richard W. Pollay, S. Siddarth, Michael Siegel, Anne Haddix, Robert K. Merritt, Gary A. Giovino, Michael P. Eriksen (April 1996). "The Last Straw? Cigarette Advertising and Realized Market Shares among Youths and Adults, 1979–1993". Journal of Marketing (American Marketing Association) 60 (2): 1–16. doi:10.2307/1251927. JSTOR 1251927. 
  76. ^ Arnett JJ, Terhanian G (1998). "Adolescents' responses to cigarette advertisements: links between exposure, liking, and the appeal of smoking". Tob Control 7 (2): 129–33. doi:10.1136/tc.7.2.129. PMC 1759675. PMID 9789930. 
  77. ^ Biener L, Siegel M (March 2000). "Tobacco marketing and adolescent smoking: more support for a causal inference". Am J Public Health 90 (3): 407–11. doi:10.2105/AJPH.90.3.407. PMC 1446173. PMID 10705860. 
  78. ^ Lam TH, Chung SF, Betson CL, Wong CM, Hedley AJ (April 1998). "Tobacco advertisements: one of the strongest risk factors for smoking in Hong Kong students". Am J Prev Med 14 (3): 217–23. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(97)00071-8. PMID 9569223. 
  79. ^ Choi WS, Ahluwalia JS, Harris KJ, Okuyemi K (May 2002). "Progression to established smoking: the influence of tobacco marketing". Am J Prev Med 22 (4): 228–33. doi:10.1016/S0749-3797(02)00420-8. PMID 11988378. 
  80. ^ Saffer H, Chaloupka F (November 2000). "The effect of tobacco advertising bans on tobacco consumption". J Health Econ 19 (6): 1117–37. doi:10.1016/S0167-6296(00)00054-0. PMID 11186847. 
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External links

Examples of Tobacco Advertising
Laws and legislation
Anti-smoking organizations

See also

  • J. P. Nelson, "What is Learned from Longitudinal Studies of Advertising and Youth Drinking and Smoking?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), March 2010, pp. 870–926. Open Access:

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