Objective: This Vector paper (IV of V on monitoring the tobacco use epidemic) presents the data sources and methods that can be used to monitor tobacco marketing and makes recommendations for creating a national surveillance system.
Methods: In 2002, the Vector Work Group of the National Tobacco Monitoring, Research and Evaluation Workshop identified priority indicators of tobacco marketing: tobacco brand pricing strategies, retail environment advertising and promotional allowances, gray market or smuggling activities, lobbying, direct mail marketing, tobacco brand placements in films, Internet promotions, and sponsorship at bars and events. This paper reviews and identifies data sources and gaps for these priority indicators and for 12 other indicators of interest.
Results: There are 38 commercial data sites and Internet sources, as well as individual research efforts that address the priority indicators. These sources are not integrated, often costly, and limited in standardization.
Conclusions: Tobacco marketing could be more effectively monitored with the development of a national research network. Surveillance of the tobacco industry's methods to push tobacco and pull consumers can help the public health community identify new markets and campaigns, justify and tailor effective tobacco control strategies, and evaluate existing counter-marketing efforts.