Current trends in cigarette advertising and marketing

N Engl J Med. 1987 Mar 19;316(12):725-32. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198703193161206.


Because the nation's health is so greatly influenced by cigarette smoking, this report examines current trends in cigarette advertising and marketing. According to the Federal Trade Commission, total cigarette advertising and promotional expenditures reached $2.1 billion in 1984. From 1974 through 1984, total expenditures increased approximately sevenfold, or threefold after adjustment according to the consumer price index. In 1985, cigarette advertising expenditures accounted for 22.3 percent, 7.1 percent, and 0.8 percent of total advertising expenditures in outdoor media, magazines, and newspapers, respectively. When all products and services were ranked according to national advertising expenditures, cigarettes were first in the outdoor media, second in magazines, and third in newspapers. The proportion of total cigarette advertising and promotional expenditures devoted to promotional activities has increased steadily, from 25.5 percent in 1975 to 47.6 percent in 1984. The proportion of expenditures for cigarettes yielding 15 mg or less of "tar" has increased substantially and has consistently exceeded the domestic market share of these cigarettes. The fastest growing markets are discounted cigarettes and brands containing 25 cigarettes per pack. Several advertising campaigns have targeted women, minorities, and blue-collar workers. The study of these marketing trends should assist health officials in identifying and predicting patterns of cigarette use and in developing health promotion programs that counteract the influence of advertising by incorporating similar, effective techniques.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / trends*
  • Black or African American
  • Commerce*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Social Class
  • Tobacco*
  • United States