Tobacco Marketing Works!


Of course tobacco marketing works! Tobacco companies don’t spend more than a half million dollars per day in New York State marketing tobacco in retail stores unless it’s going to sell more tobacco.

The problem is, tobacco marketing is working to create a new generation of smokers under the age of 26. More than 9 out of 10 adult smokers started before age 18, and 99% before age 26. If young people don’t start using tobacco by age 26, they almost certainly never will start.

Every year in NYS, 28,200 adults die of smoking-caused diseases. That means that tobacco companies lose 28,200 customers every year that they need to “replace” with new smokers in order to stay profitable. These “replacement smokers” include 10,600 new smokers under the age of 18 every year. Tobacco companies are spending half a million dollars each day to grow that number; we’re spending 1/10th of that amount trying to stop them.

 Young people 18 and under are especially vulnerable to tobacco advertising.

  • Tobacco advertising is most commonly found in convenience stores– where 3 out of 4 teens shop every week.
  • In NYS, retail stores average 5 exterior and 21 interior tobacco ads
  • Teens are more likely to be influenced by cigarette advertising than by peer pressure.
  • Kids are more than twice as likely as adults to notice and remember retail tobacco advertising.
  • Tobacco companies spend more than $9.5 billion on retail advertising and promotion — a successful strategy for hooking young smokers.

Tobacco industry marketing targets young people 18 and under.

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals concluded—beyond any reasonable doubt—that the tobacco industry created highly sophisticated marketing campaigns to get young people to become smokers.

Tobacco products are readily available to young people 18 and under in communities across New York State.

  • There is one licensed tobacco retailer for every 194 children in NYS.
  • Despite record levels of compliance with laws restricting tobacco sales to minors, 1 in 5 high school smokers usually obtain their cigarettes by purchasing them in retail stores.

The number of licensed tobacco retailers in a community or neighborhood affects youth smoking behaviors and access to tobacco products.

  • Greater concentration of tobacco retailers is associated with illegal cigarette purchases by young people and higher rates of youth smoking prevalence

The more tobacco marketing kids see, the more likely they are to smoke.

 Here’s what only a few of the available studies show:
  • Exposure to cigarette advertising causes nonsmoking adolescents to initiate smoking and to move toward regular smoking.
  • Even brief exposure to tobacco advertising influences adolescents’ intentions to smoke.

National Cancer Institute. “The role of media in promoting and reducing tobacco use.” NIH publication no. 07- 6242 (2008)       

  • Young people are more likely to be influenced by cigarette advertising than by peer or parental smoking.

    Evans, Farkas, Gilpin, et al. “Influence of tobacco marketing and exposure to smokers on adolescent susceptibility to smoking. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 87(19):1538-1545 (1995)

  • The more tobacco retailers there are near schools, the more likely children are to smoke.

     - Henriksen, Feighery, Schleicher, et al. “Is adolescent smoking related to the density and proximity of tobacco outlets and retail cigarette advertising near schools?” Preventive Medicine 47:210-214 (2008)   

    There are solutions.

Next: What’s being done to reduce the impact of tobacco marketing on kids.