A US law, brought into force after 15 years, has banned the display of tobacco advertising to non adults. But the tobacco companies are not going to give ground so easily.

In the history of advertising, the first known advertisement in USA was for snuff and tobacco products of P. Lorillard and Company appearing in the New York daily newspaper in 1789. But, the first real name to become to become what we can call a brand was “Bull Durham” which was launched in newspapers in 1868, with the advertising sending the message across that how easy it was “to roll your own”. With the development of color lithography in the late 1870s cigarette and other tobacco product makers began to create attractive images to bring more visibility to their products. thus began the era of picture driven tobacco advertising. But if a recent law that took 15 years in the making is implemented with all its provisions, juveniles and coming generations of American children will only get to even see Marlboro Man or the upright ‘Camel’ post attaining adulthood.

In June 2009, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act was signed into law by US President Barack Obama. The law, being hailed a “sweeping anti-smoking” bill, amongst other restrictions, virtually bans the advertising or promotions of tobacco products to non adults (people aged below 18) in the USA. The US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) came up with a set of rules to restrict tobacco advertising to teenagers in 1995. The proposed set of rules generated a massive controversy when first proposed in 1995 by the FDA and was never adopted by the agency. Post scores of heated debates and controversies, a Supreme Court ruling came in 1998 that a separate law was required to empower the F.D.A. to regulate tobacco products.

The current law establishes consistent enforcement mechanisms across the country. Under its provisions, store managers/employees will be required to check photo IDs to verify that customers are old enough to buy tobacco goods. It prohibits the sale of cigarettes in packs having less than 20, eliminating the so-called “kiddie packs” that make cigarettes more affordable to teenagers with small pocket allowances. On the promotional front, the law bans sponsorship of sporting or entertainment events by tobacco companies, even for smokeless tobacco products. It also restricts tobacco products in vending machines and self-service displays to adult-only facilities, and requires stores to place them behind the counter.

Interestingly, non-tobacco products cannot have the same names as those of tobacco brands (sometimes called surrogate ads tactic) to circumvent the ironclad law.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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10/08/2011 3:28am

Tobacco farmers were being ruined as the market dropped, manufacturers hid their purchase plans and banks charged interest rates of up to 37%. 25% of all families in North Carolina were on relief as farmers appealed to the sympathetic Roosevelt administration.

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