The world’s largest tobacco companies are targeting kids with cigarette ads near schools and playgrounds according to investigations in more than 40 countries.

Philip Morris Company Logo
Company logo for British American Tobacco

British American Tobacco cigarette brands were found in points of sale around primary and secondary schools in 86% of countries investigated.

Company logo for Japan Tobacco

Popular Japan Tobacco International cigarette brands, Camel, Mevius, Monte Carlo, and Winston, were observed in points of sale around schools in 25 countries investigated across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

Company logo for Imperial Tobacco

Imperial Tobacco cigarette brands were clearly visible from primary and secondary schools in 17 countries investigated.

Spinning a Global Web: The Tobacco Industry’s Pursuit of Minors

Produced in partnership with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, this video documents the sweeping, on-the-ground surveillance process resulting in more than 19,500 observations of nearly identical, youth-targeted, point-of-sale (POS) advertising tactics near schools and playgrounds—and underscoring the opportunity for stronger laws and enforcement to protect kids worldwide.

Big Tobacco cigarette brands are frequently associated with point-of-sale marketing tactics targeting kids. Share this message now to warn your community.

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In every country investigated, investigators found easy access to cigarettes from street vendors, retailers, mobile vendors, or kiosks immediately surrounding primary and secondary 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:

Hiding health warnings

Researchers investigating tobacco marketing at points of sale found a common trend in cigarette packs being displayed in ways that hid or obscured pictorial health warnings.

big tobacco tactic:

Point of sale marketing at the eye level of children

Cigarettes or cigarette advertising at children’s eye level was found in all countries investigated and tobacco products were often placed near sweets, snacks, or soda.

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 over 40 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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Read analysis of data collected in 42 countries

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