Tobacco Industry Direct Marketing after the Master Settlement Agreement

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Although Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) provisions have led to significant changes in tobacco marketing, expenditures and emphasis on marketing strategies and populations not bound by the MSA have increased significantly. This article discusses tobacco industry direct marketing practices, including direct mail, coupons, sweepstakes, brand loyalty programs, event sponsorship, and tobacco industry magazines, and the implications of such strategies. An analysis of a survey of New Jersey adult smokers provides context and documents notable rates of participation. In addition to bypassing marketing restrictions, many of these strategies operate out of sight of the public health community and most of the public and so go unchecked by either tobacco control advocates or public opinion. This article suggests that a first step in countering these practices is to increase awareness and understanding of them, followed by development of strategies to address them and to limit or eliminate their use in tobacco marketing.

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