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Tobacco industry advertising: efforts to shift public perception of big tobacco with paid media in the USA
  1. Robin Koval1,
  2. Nicole Dorrler1,
  3. Barbara Schillo2
  1. 1 Truth Initiative, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  2. 2 Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute, Washington, District of Columbia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Barbara Schillo, Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute, Washington, DC 20001, USA; bschillo{at}

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In the USA, Congress banned paid television and radio advertising for cigarettes in 1970 and later extended these bans to smokeless tobacco.1 In 1998, the Master Settlement Agreement extended such prohibitions to outdoor advertisements, paid product placement and sponsorships of events.2 Even among media platforms that are still permitted to run tobacco advertising, many publishers have implemented policies prohibiting paid ads or other tobacco-sponsored content. These include social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as well as a few traditional publishers, including The New York Times.3–6

Historically, tobacco companies have mounted corporate public relations efforts in paid media designed to improve their reputation. Most prominent in recent years is Philip Morris International’s (PMI) campaign featuring new non-combustible products to reposition them as aligned with the public health strategy of harm reduction. They also make claims …

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  • Contributors ND, RK and BS all designed this project. ND analysed the data. RK and BS wrote the text and all three authors reviewed and revised the final text.

  • Funding Research reported in this publication was supported by Truth Initiative.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.