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Am J Public Health. 2010 Jan;100(1):32-41. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.144097.

Branding the rodeo: a case study of tobacco sports sponsorship.

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Department of Medicine, 530 Parnassus Ave, Suite 366, UCSF Box 1390, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-1390, USA.


Rodeo is one of the few sports still sponsored by the tobacco industry, particularly the US Smokeless Tobacco Company. Rodeo is popular in rural communities, where smokeless tobacco use is more prevalent. We used previously secret tobacco industry documents to examine the history and internal motivations for tobacco company rodeo sponsorship. Rodeos allow tobacco companies to reach rural audiences and young people, enhance brand image, conduct market research, and generate positive press. Relationships with athletes and fans were used to fight proposed restrictions on tobacco sports sponsorship. Rodeo sponsorship was intended to enhance tobacco sales, not the sport. Rural communities should question the tradition of tobacco sponsorship of rodeo sports and reject these predatory marketing practices.

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