Cigarette Advertising

Cigarette advertising means advertisement of cigarettes or its use (i.e., smoking) through media.

The first known advertisement of tobacco products in the U.S. happened when P. Lorillard and company advertised their tobacco products in New York National Daily in 1789.  The development of color lithography in the 1870s increased the volume of these advertisements.  Cigarette companies started sponsored television programs during 1950’s and 1960s.

In 1955 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) promulgated guidelines that prohibited cigarette advertisements with therapeutic health claims.  It also issued a Trade Regulation Rule on Cigarette Labeling and Advertising that strictly controlled the advertising and labeling of tobacco products.

Congress passed the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertisements Act (FCLAA) in 1965.  The FCLAA required all cigarette packets sold in the U.S. to carry a health warning.  Moreover, the failure to warn the consumers about dangers of smoking constitutes unfair and deceptive trade practice under Federal Trade Commission Act, 1914.

Radio and television stations were not providing equal importance to the opposite view that cigarette smoking was dangerous.  In 1967, the FTC decided to act upon citizen complaints it had received regarding broadcast cigarette advertising. The FTC implemented a rule requiring any station that broadcasts cigarette advertising to also air public service announcements prepared by various health organizations in an effort to inform listeners and viewers of the dangers of smoking.

Congress passed Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act in 1969.  Congress passed this Act in response to U.S. Surgeon General Luther Leonidas Terry’s Report about the dangers of cigarette smoking.  As per this report, cigarette smoking will result in lung cancer and chronic bronchitis.  On the basis of this report, this Act banned advertisement of cigarettes on television and radio.  Thus, after 1971, companies depended mostly on magazines, news papers and billboards for cigarette advertisements.

Likewise, Comprehensive Smoking Education Act, 1984 provided for more specific health warning.  This law required four specific health warnings on all cigarette packages and advertisements.  This Act also required FTC to report biennially to U.S. Congress about the state of advertisements.

In 1990s, a Bill was introduced in Congress to restrict the amount of advertising expense that cigarette manufactures could deduct from their income.  But it did not become an act.

In 2003, tobacco companies and magazine publishers agreed to cease the placement of advertisements in school library editions of four magazines with a large group of young readers (Time, People, Sports Illustrated and News Week).  State laws can also regulate cigarette advertisement, if it is not already addressed by federal laws. Such regulations typically restrict the use of tobacco by minors, require licenses for those who sell tobacco products, and restrict vending machine and individual cigarette sales.


Inside Cigarette Advertising