Reinforcement of smoking and drinking: tobacco marketing strategies linked with alcohol in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2011 Oct;101(10):1942-54. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300157. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


Objectives: We investigated tobacco companies' knowledge about concurrent use of tobacco and alcohol, their marketing strategies linking cigarettes with alcohol, and the benefits tobacco companies sought from these marketing activities.

Methods: We performed systematic searches on previously secret tobacco industry documents, and we summarized the themes and contexts of relevant search results.

Results: Tobacco company research confirmed the association between tobacco use and alcohol use. Tobacco companies explored promotional strategies linking cigarettes and alcohol, such as jointly sponsoring special events with alcohol companies to lower the cost of sponsorships, increase consumer appeal, reinforce brand identity, and generate increased cigarette sales. They also pursued promotions that tied cigarette sales to alcohol purchases, and cigarette promotional events frequently featured alcohol discounts or encouraged alcohol use.

Conclusions: Tobacco companies' numerous marketing strategies linking cigarettes with alcohol may have reinforced the use of both substances. Because using tobacco and alcohol together makes it harder to quit smoking, policies prohibiting tobacco sales and promotion in establishments where alcohol is served and sold might mitigate this effect. Smoking cessation programs should address the effect that alcohol consumption has on tobacco use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Marketing* / statistics & numerical data
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology