Once a product rolls off the manufacturing line, it needs help to get to consumers. Tobacco companies must build the demand for products, particularly from new consumers. Marketing creates consumer demand, essentially inventing the reasons why a person would want to smoke a cigarette or use other tobacco products. Controlling the ability of the tobacco industry to spread favorable ideas about tobacco use is the essence of tobacco control efforts to regulate marketing. Closing off marketing channels to everyone has the primary benefit of shielding children from persuasive efforts that influence them to start smoking. While the tobacco industry always claims that their advertisements are not intended to appeal to children, they walk a fine line by aiming their marketing efforts to young adults, a group who children see as their closest peers and role models. Sometimes, such as by marketing tobacco like candy, tobacco companies cross this line.

The tobacco industry has found creative ways to market its products, including through attractive packaging and so-called “corporate social responsibility” campaigns wherein they seek to present themselves as positive contributors to society. Regulating these myriad marketing strategies is a central tobacco control strategy. Essentially, wherever the tobacco industry tries to change the message about what their products represent away from disease and death, tobacco control attempts to change the conversation firmly back to the essential facts of tobacco use: disease and death.

Tobacco companies typically respond to marketing restrictions by reallocating resources to the remaining open channels. For example, when the government prohibits magazine and billboard advertising, the industry simply moves to other strategies, such as direct mail, internet, point of sale, package branding and discounting. When regulation successfully eliminates all channels, the tobacco market will freeze up and dwindle over time. But we know that until every single channel for marketing is closed off, tobacco companies will try to spend their way around the problem because there is money to be made doing so. Thus, tobacco control must work relentlessly toward closing off every avenue available to tobacco companies to promote their destructive products. Such innovative anti-marketing efforts include requiring plain, standardized packaging of their products, and eventually plain, standardized products.


允许发布电子烟广告——在禁止宣传烟草产品的渠道中秘密宣传吸烟。菲莫国际制造的MarkTen 电子烟看起来与真烟几乎相同,因为它的尾部也“冒烟”。烟草公司声称,他们只是在禁止卷烟广告的地方为电子烟做广告,但对于观众而言,这些产品是没有区别的。


Photo Credit: MarkTen E-cigarette Ad From the collection of Stanford Research Into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising (

Stanford University Research Into Tobacco Advertising, 2014.


这个虚拟的双语销售点广告禁令展示了,此政策如在中国香港实施时的样子。截止到 2016 年,WHO FCTC 禁止烟草广告、促销活动及赞助的最佳实践政策已涵盖全球37 个国家的 15%的人口。满足最佳做法的烟草健康警告标签已涵盖全球 47% 的人口(78 个国家)。


Photo Credit: Marketing Ban at Point of Sale courtesy of the Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health.

GTCR 2017 and BBC News




Photo Credit: Plain, Standardized Packaging the goatman / Image used with modification under license from

ABC News, 2012




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