Industry Watch

Marketing

Tobacco companies spend billions of dollars each year to promote the use of their products in emerging markets. In 2008, leading tobacco company Philip Morris International alone spent $7 billion to market its brands, an amount equivalent to the GDP of Haiti in 2009. The tobacco industry’s goal is to maximize profits assisted by intensive advertising campaigns to:

  • Attract new users — with a focus on children, young people and women,
  • Maintain or increase use among current tobacco users,
  • Reduce quit attempts among current users and encourage former users to start again.

Comprehensive laws that include banning all forms of advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective at reducing tobacco use. Partial advertising bans are less effective because the industry can exploit weak laws and loopholes to continue promoting their products. Article 13 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control calls for the adoption of comprehensive bans to prohibit the use of all marketing strategies by the tobacco industry.

Tobacco companies use a sophisticated blend of strategies to reach their target audiences including:

  • Advertising and promotion of current brands and new product "innovations"
  • Sponsorships of music, sporting and other events