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Addict Behav. 2019 Apr 25;96:100-109. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.04.024. [Epub ahead of print]

Selling tobacco: A comprehensive analysis of the U.S. tobacco advertising landscape.

Author information

1
Department of Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health,Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address: mmoran22@jhu.edu.
2
Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA.
3
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA.
4
Department of Family Medicine & Public Health, UC-San Diego School of Medicine and Division of Population, Moores Cancer Center, San Diego, CA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To describe advertising tactics of cigarette, e-cigarette, little cigar/cigarillo and smokeless tobacco manufacturers.

METHODS:

We conducted a content analysis of tobacco 827 ads run in the US in 2016. Ads were double coded by trained coders across ten domains: promotions, web/social media presence, use cues, warnings and disclaimers, descriptors, claims, activities, setting, imagery, and themes.

RESULTS:

Cigarette ads relied on promotional tactics like discounts and sweepstakes and featured links to websites and mobile apps, all of which can increase brand loyalty and customer engagement. E-cigarette ads used tactics that appear to target new consumers, such as highlighting the product's qualities and modeling product use. Little cigar/cigarillo ads often positioned the product as social and featured music, urban and nightlife settings. Smokeless tobacco ads frequently featured themes, activities and settings stereotypically thought of as masculine.

CONCLUSIONS:

The tactics used to advertise tobacco products can help generate new consumers, encourage product/brand switching, and escalate use among current users. Understanding how different products are advertised can inform the Food and Drug Administration's regulatory efforts, and tobacco counter-marketing campaigns.

KEYWORDS:

Advertising; Cigarettes; Cigars; Marketing; Smokeless tobacco; Tobacco

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