Purpose: This is the first study describing the tobacco industry's objectives developing and publishing lifestyle magazines, linking them to tobacco marketing strategies, and how these magazines may encourage smoking.
Methods: Analysis of previously secret tobacco industry documents and content analysis of 31 lifestyle magazines to understand the motives behind producing these magazines and the role they played in tobacco marketing strategies.
Results: Philip Morris (PM) debuted Unlimited in 1996 to nearly 2 million readers and RJ Reynolds (RJR) debuted CML in 1999, targeting young adults with their interests. Both magazines were developed as the tobacco companies faced increased advertising restrictions. Unlimited contained few images of smoking, but frequently featured elements of the Marlboro brand identity in both advertising and article content. CML featured more smoking imagery and fewer Camel brand identity elements.
Conclusions: Lifestyle promotions that lack images of smoking may still promote tobacco use through brand imagery. The tobacco industry still uses the "under-the-radar" strategies used in development of lifestyle magazines in branded Websites. Prohibiting lifestyle advertising including print and electronic media that associate tobacco with recreation, action, pleasures, and risky behaviors or that reinforces tobacco brand identity may be an effective strategy to curb young adult smoking.