The outing of Philip Morris: advertising tobacco to gay men

Am J Public Health. 2003 Jun;93(6):988-93. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.6.988.


Objectives: This case study describes the events surrounding the first time a major tobacco company advertised in gay media.

Methods: We analyzed internal tobacco company documents, mainstream newspapers, and the gay press.

Results: Philip Morris was unprepared for the attention its entry into the gay market received. The company's reaction to this incident demonstrates that its approach to the gay community both parallels and diverges from industry strategies toward other marginalized communities.

Conclusions: The tobacco industry's relationship to the gay community is relatively undeveloped, a fact that may provide tobacco control advocates an opportunity for early intervention. The gay community's particular vulnerabilities to the industry make development of gay tobacco control programs crucial to reducing gay smoking prevalence and industry presence in the community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advertising / methods*
  • Advertising / trends
  • Attitude to Health
  • Community Participation*
  • Confidentiality
  • Deception
  • Disclosure
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Media*
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / psychology
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Industry / organization & administration*
  • United States