Big tobacco

What are U.S. tobacco companies Icon of a tobacco leafup to? The facts are sobering.


  • Big tobacco spends more than 80% of their marketing budget – nearly $7 billion a year, to make cigarettes cheaper.
    (Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report, 2015)
  • Big tobacco targets people of color with advertising campaigns. An analysis found the odds that any given billboard or outdoor ad was smoking-related were 70% higher in predominantly African-American neighborhoods than in predominantly white neighborhoods. There were 2.6 times as many tobacco advertisements per person in African-American areas.
    (Primack Ba, Bost Je, Land Sr, Fine Mj. Volume of Tobacco Advertising in African American Markets: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Public Health Rep. Sep-Oct 2007; 122(5):607-615.)
  • Women have been targeted by the tobacco industry, and tobacco companies have produced brands specifically for women. Marketing toward women is dominated by themes of social desirability and independence, conveyed by ads featuring slim, attractive and athletic models.
    (U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services. Women and Smoking: A Report of The Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2001)
  • The five major U.S. smokeless tobacco manufacturers spent $684.9 million on advertising and promotion in 2015, an increase from $600.8 million spent the previous year. Go back just four or five years – in 2011, they spent $451 million…up from $442 million spent in 2010.
    (Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2015. [Pdf–518 Kb]. Washington: Federal Trade Commission, 2017) ("Federal Trade Commission Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2011." Federal Trade Commission. May 2013: 1. Report.)
  • Advertising products at the point-of-sale in convenience stores increases "impulse buys" and makes tobacco seem like a part of everyday life. It’s probably why big tobacco spends 95% of its $9.1 billion yearly budget here.
    (Center for Public Health Systems Science. Point-Of-Sale Report to the Nation: The Tobacco Retail and Policy Landscape. St. Louis, Mo: Center For Public Health Systems Science at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and the National Cancer Institute, State and Community Tobacco Control Research Initiative, 2014. http://Publichealthlawcenter.Org/Sites/Default /Files/Resources/Wau-Guide-Pos-Policy-Report-2015.Pdf)
  • In D.C., big tobacco advertises up to 10 times more in black neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods.
    (Lee, J. G., Henriksen, L., Rose, S. W., Moreland-Russell, S., & Ribisl, K. M. (2015). A Systematic Review of Neighborhood Disparities in Point-Of-Sale Tobacco Marketing. American Journal of Public Health, 105(9), E8-E18.)
  • Low-income neighborhoods are more likely to have tobacco retailers near schools than other neighborhoods.
    (Dâangelo, Heather, Alice Ammerman, Penny Gordon-Larsen, Laura Linnan, Leslie Lytle, and Kurt M. Ribisl. "Sociodemographic Disparities in Proximity Of Schools To Tobacco Outlets And Fast-Food Restaurants." American Journal of Public Health 106.9 (2016): 1556-562.)
  • Big tobacco spends nearly $1 million every hour marketing their products at the "point of sale" -- a.k.a. where people buy things (like the counter at a drugstore). 
    (Federal Trade Commission. Federal Trade Commission Cigarette Report for 2012. Washington, Dc: Federal Trade Commission, 2015. http://www.Ftc.Gov/System/Files/Documents /Reports/Federal-Trade-Commission-Cigarette-Report-2012/150327-2012cigaretterpt.Pdf. Accessed November 16, 2015.
  • 34.1% of middle school students report seeing advertisements for tobacco products on the internet.
    ("Tobacco Use, Access, and Exposure to Tobacco in Media among Middle School and High School Students – United States, 2004." CDC. 01 Apr. 2005: 54(12) 297-301. Web.)