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IQOS and cigarette advertising across regulatory periods and population groups in Israel: a longitudinal analysis


Background Tobacco regulation recently changed in Israel, including a partial advertisement ban. We assessed the impact of regulatory changes on Philip Morris International’s (PMI) IQOS and cigarette advertisements.

Methods Weekly number of ads and weekly adspend of PMI’s IQOS and cigarettes were analysed descriptively and using Quasi-Poisson regressions over time, across regulatory periods and in relation to subpopulations (general public, Arab, Russian and Ultra-Orthodox), from 25 December 2016 to 4 August 2020. Exponentiated coefficients (a value >1 indicates an increase) and 95% CIs are reported.

Results The average weekly number of ads and the average weekly adspend of IQOS were higher than cigarettes (42.22 vs 26.76 ads/week and 59 409 vs 45 613 new Israeli shekels/week; p<0.001 for both) during the study period, with exclusive IQOS advertisements during market penetration (December 2016 to May 2017). Variation in both outcomes was observed with regard to regulatory decisions. After the advertisement ban, there was a significant decrease in the weekly number of ads (IQOS: ß=0.04, 95% CI 0.002 to 0.20; cigarettes: ß=0.05, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.15) and weekly adspend (IQOS: ß=0.15, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.29; cigarettes: ß=0.31, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.53) for both products. The Ultra-Orthodox had significantly higher average weekly ads compared with the Arab population (IQOS: 0.67 vs 0.07; cigarettes: 2.74 vs 0.13; p=0.02 for both) but lower adspend.

Conclusions IQOS and cigarette advertisements varied over time and appeared to have been impacted by regulatory changes. PMI invested more in IQOS advertisements than in cigarettes, with a partial advertisement ban decreasing both products’ advertisements. PMI might be targeting the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish population which has a low smoking rate. Further research and surveillance are needed to better understand targeting strategies in order to inform tobacco control policy.

  • Advertising and Promotion
  • Media
  • Electronic nicotine delivery devices

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Data are available upon reasonable request from the corresponding author.

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