The world’s largest tobacco companies are targeting kids with advertising, promotions, and product placements around primary and secondary schools across the globe, according to investigations conducted in at least 23 countries.

Philip Morris Company Logo
Company logo for British American Tobacco

British American Tobacco products were found around primary and secondary schools in 90% of countries investigated.

Company logo for Japan Tobacco

Popular Japan Tobacco International brands, Winston and Camel, were observed around schools in eight countries investigated across Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Company logo for Imperial Tobacco

Imperial Tobacco brands were clearly visible from primary and secondary schools in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Ukraine.

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In most countries reviewed for Big Tobacco: Tiny Targets, half of children ages 13-15 reported easy access to cigarettes from street vendors, retailers, mobile vendors, vending machines, or kiosks immediately surrounding their schools.

big tobacco tactic:

Premiums for vendors

To ensure that their products are prominently displayed at retailers around schools, tobacco companies provided monetary incentives, marketing materials, and display cases to retailers.

big tobacco tactic:

Tobacco vending machines

Researchers discovered several tobacco vending machines in Switzerland in locations accessible to children. It is also not surprising that the vending machines observed around schools in Switzerland were covered in attractive advertising and pack displays.

big tobacco tactic:

Point of sale marketing at the eye level of children

Tobacco products or advertising at children’s eye level was found in all 23 countries investigated and tobacco products placed near sweets, snacks, or soda were found in all but one country investigated.

big tobacco tactic:

Flavored cigarettes

The tobacco industry acknowledges flavored tobacco products appeal primarily to younger consumers. Flavored tobacco products were sold or advertised around schools in 71% of countries investigated.

big tobacco tactic:

Single cigarettes for sale

The availability of single cigarettes around schools makes it cheap and easy for school children to access tobacco. In a survey of school children (age 13-15) from 45 countries, youth around the world reported recently purchasing single cigarettes, as high as 85% in some countries like Bangladesh.

big tobacco tactic:

Litigation to weaken regulations that limit access to children

Tobacco companies fight policy efforts to prevent them from advertising and selling near schools. The industry has aggressively opposed legislation in Pakistan, Senegal, Chile, Russia, and Uganda that specifically included provisions to ban the sale and advertising of tobacco products near schools.

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