Tobacco Industry Marketing

To recruit young smokers and retain current ones, tobacco companies must keep their products affordable, accessible, and appealing. They achieve this by manipulating the Four P’s of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion, and Place.

Revealing tobacco marketing strategies can stop them.

“From the 1950s to the present, different defendants, at different times and using different methods, have intentionally marketed to young people under the age of twenty-one in order to recruit ‘replacement smokers’ to ensure the economic future of the tobacco industry.” 

—U.S. District Court Judge Gladys Kessler Final Opinion, United States v. Philip Morris

Sweet, Cheap, and Easy: Tobacco Industry Tactics

Explore how they do this below to understand and expose these tactics, helping to reduce smoking rates.

NY Storefront


Tobacco Sales Regulations in New York

We have a number of resources available for community leaders, schools, lawmakers, policymakers, change influencers, employers, colleges, businesses, tenants, property owners/landlords and organizations focused on youth.

Local Authority and Additional Restrictions

Local municipalities can impose additional restrictions on tobacco sales. Examples include prohibiting sales in pharmacies and limiting the number and location of tobacco retailers. Some local governments restrict sales near schools and cap the total number of tobacco retailers.

Key Measures in New York State


Raising tobacco prices is crucial for preventing youth smoking, reducing overall tobacco use, and encouraging quitting. New York State leads with the highest cigarette tax nationwide, taxes on e-cigarettes, and bans on tobacco product discounts and coupons. However, a persistent challenge remains: while the FDA mandates a minimum pack size of 20 cigarettes to maintain higher prices, other tobacco products like cigars and cigarillos can still be sold cheaply, undermining efforts to curb tobacco use effectively.

Boy at store counter looking at tobacco products

High School Students:
OTP Use Outpaces Cigarettes in 2018

Trends in Tobacco Use among High School Students


The tobacco and vape industries attract youth with sweet, fruity, and candy-flavored products, which make these products seem less harsh and harmful. In New York State, flavored tobacco products, banned in 2009 for cigarettes except menthol, saw youth usage rates surpassing cigarettes. Following the introduction of flavored e-cigarettes in 2013, youth e-cigarette use surged by 160% from 2014 to 2018, reaching 30.5% among high school students. New York responded by prohibiting flavored e-cigarettes, including menthol, effective May 18, 2020.

Menthol Tobacco: Disproportionate Impact and Calls for Regulation


Menthol Tobacco and Health Disparities

Menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products have disproportionately impacted African American adults and youth, who are often targeted with aggressive marketing. This has led to higher rates of smoking initiation, addiction, and lower success rates in quitting smoking. The NAACP has recently called for the FDA to ban menthol in cigarettes to address these disparities. Advocates suggest restricting the sale of all flavored tobacco products as a critical step to protect public health.