Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship

Safeguarding Public Health: Strict Regulation of Electronic Smoking Devices (PDF 1.1 MB)

This policy paper addresses the growing concerns surrounding Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) and advocates for their regulation by prohibition or restriction to protect public health. ESDs pose significant health risks and the tobacco industry is using various marketing tactics to lure people into using these devices, especially the youth. When a ban is not possible, countries are urged to strictly regulate ESDs through measures including flavor bans, tax and price measures, marketing bans, pictorial health warnings, access restrictions, and expansion of smoke-free definition to include ESDs.

Tobacco Charity Exposed: Review of the Tobacco Industry’s CSR Activities in the ASEAN Region (PDF 1 MB) 

As tobacco advertisements, promotions, and sponsorships are being restricted or prohibited by governments in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the tobacco industry increasingly resorts to more insidious strategies to promote its products to consumers. 

Whitewashing a Harmful Business: Review of Tobacco Industry’s CSR Activities in ASEAN 2021 PDF 11mb

This report highlights the tactics of the tobacco industry in leveraging corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as a loophole to lure, exploit, and confuse governments to give in to its interests. The industry has been framing its CSR activities as donations and acts of charity when in truth, these activities are funded by their marketing funds. These activities are done to bring the attention away from the deaths and illness that tobacco products cause and to wrongly paint a picture of the tobacco industry as a benefactor and an ally to achieve sustainable development. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a smokescreen for the tobacco industry to step in with their activities including donations of medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and even funding vaccine research and manufacture. The report also notes that the industry has become more tactical in supporting high profile non-government organizations and movements, aiming to give credence and legitimacy to its charitable acts. The report recommends a  ban on all CSR activities of the industry and prevent it from conducting any activity concerning youth or those that involve the education system. The report also calls on ASEAN governments to reject grants and partnership with the industry and publicize their official position on interacting with the industry.

Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Customers:Baiting Youths With New Tobacco Products  to Create a New Generation of Addicts
This report shows parallel strategies used by the tobacco industry to grow its cigarette business that are now being used to market and sell ENDS (such as e-cigarettes) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) in ASEAN, where youth exposures to and prevalence use of these products are already increasing. The report concludes with policy recommendations to ban these products when possible, or to enforce restrictions such as prohibiting use of flavors, applying comprehensive TAPS ban, and taxing ENDS and HTPs at a rate that reduces affordability.
PDF 6.7mb

Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship Index 
PDF 5.3mb
Advertising and promotions are basic and important to increasing any business. Further, tobacco marketing specifically targets youths to continually build its market. Hence it is only logical that to reduce tobacco initiation and use, it is vital that all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship (TAPS) must be banned. Most governments in Southeast Asia have recognised this essential action in tobacco control and started introducing various degrees of a ban two decades ago. Partial bans on TAPS are ineffective because the tobacco industry will exploit loopholes and look for new advertising platforms. The tobacco industry also uses the regulation loopholes to create internet and person-to- person sale.

Hijacking ‘Sustainability’ from the SDGs: Review of Tobacco-Related CSR activities in the ASEAN Region PDF 2.7mb

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by world leaders in September 2015 requires governments to mobilize efforts and partner with different stakeholders to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change while ensuring that no one is left behind. The Tobacco industry (TI) takes advantage of the SDGs to reach customers through the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The industry claims that CSR activities are implemented in accordance with the SDGs while its business is in conflict with almost all the SDGs.

The report provides comprehensive information about the tobacco industry’s tactics in utilizing the SDGs as a license to damage health and life of people, hijack sustainable development policies and undermine public health policies in the region. It also discussed on TI’s investment under the name of charitable contributions and new tactics of TI to reach children and young people.


Terminating Tobacco Industry Corporate Giving: A review of CSR in ASEAN PDF 37.5mb

 “This report show how much the tobacco industry spends on CSR activities and how this pales in comparison to the industry’s earnings and the CEOs’  pays.”


Big Tobacco’s Smoke-Free Deception
Tobacco Trademarks in ASEAN countries uncover the truth
PDF 3.3mb 


art-13-index-2016-coverTobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship Index PDF 3.8mb

ASEAN-Status-coverASEAN Status of Tobacco Promotion at Point of Sale PDF 2.9mb

With tobacco advertising and promotions being either totally or partially banned in almost all countries in Southeast Asia (ASEAN), the tobacco companies have shifted their focus to market at point-of-sale (POS) by displaying many packs or cartons of cigarettes. This is the remaining principal avenue for tobacco companies to communicate to the public. Cigarette pack displays at POS are aimed at keeping them visible and normal in the public’s mind. POS outlets are ubiquitous, and there is usually no control over their numbers which gives the tobacco companies an easy way to make cigarettes easily available. Since minors also visit retail outlets the packs positioned prominently at counters are visible to children as well.

Marlboro-coverBe Marlboro: You’re the Target PDF 8.9mb

The report documents the global scope of Marlboro’s multi-million dollar rebranding campaign and how it threatens the health of millions of youth around the world. It also documents how “Be Marlboro” appeals to teens without regard for advertising restrictions aimed at protecting youth in many countries.

The report further emphasizes the ineffectiveness of voluntary marketing codes and partial tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship bans at curbing the tobacco industry’s ability to market to youth.

transboarder-coverComprehensive Ban on Cross-Border Tobacco Advertising, Promotions and Sponsorship in ASEAN region PDF 1mb

Cross-border advertising includes out-flowing advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (originating from a country’s territory) and in-flowing advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (entering a country’s territory) should be banned according to FCTC Article 13.2 guideline. It involves the use of the Internet, television, radio, printed publications, and other media forms. International sponsorships that cross borders are likewise considered cross-border advertising; a prominent example would be sponsorship of international sporting events using cigarette brands.

status-of-pack-coverStatus of Pack Display Ban at Point of Sale in Thailand PDF 760kb

Thailand has implemented a ban on pack display at point of sale since September 28, 2005. During the implementation, the tobacco companies used several counter action strategies against the proposed regulation. They immediately acquired interpretation of an article 8 of Tobacco product control act from the Juridical Council. Law professors appeared on several media channels questioning the validity and effectiveness of this regulation.

advertising-pos-coverAdvertising at Point of Sale gone Berserk: A Case for Pack Display Ban PDF 203kb

With tobacco advertising and promotions being either totally or partially banned in the mass media in almost all countries in Southeast Asia, the tobacco industry has shifted its focus to do marketing communication at point-of-sale (POS) by displaying a number of cigarette packs or carton. This is the remaining principal avenue for tobacco industry. Cigarette pack displays at POS are aimed at keeping them visible and normal in the public’s mind. POS outlets are ubiquitous, and there is usually no control over their numbers which gives the tobacco industry an easy way to make cigarettes easily available. Since minors also visit retail outlets the packs positioned prominently at counters are visible to them as well.

TI-expand-indo-coverTobacco Industry Expanding in Indonesia PDF 911kb

The large and young Indonesian population is important to the tobacco industry to grow its profits. There are already about 65 million smokers in Indonesia and many thousands more are becoming smokers every day. The tobacco industry (TI) must make the 65 million continue to smoke and keep recruiting the thousands for many years. This is why the tobacco industry and its spokespersons vigorously fight tobacco control measures and also attack public health advocates. When the truth is told, it is clear that the tobacco industry is the real enemy of the Indonesian people.

ecig coverElectronic Cigarettes in ASIA : A Review of Promotion and Availability PDF 1.5mb

This report documents how e-cigarette are promoted in selected countries/ jurisdictions in the region and is intended to inform policy makers on point of regulation in order to deal with the proliferation of e-cigarette in the market.

WNTD coverBan Tobacco Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorship PDF 2.4mb

World No Tobacco Day theme focuses on a ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Such a ban is a basic step towards reducing tobacco use. The booklets provides the WHO FCTC Article 13 provision and its recommendations; implementation status of the WHO FCTC Article 13 in the ASEAN region; challenges in implementation of Article 13 including ban on advertising and tobacco product display at point-of-sale, corporate social responsibility, cross border advertising and promoting tobacco over new media.

Abuse coverAbuse of the Pack to Promote Cigarettes in the Region PDF 9mb

Tobacco industry launched its aggressive and extensive tobacco advertising promotional strategy using innovative pack designs across ASEAN countries, regardless of any tobacco advertising ban.  Recognizing the need to bring this issue to the attention of policy makers, the booklet aims to highlight the significant roles of cigarette packaging as a form of advertising. It also reveals how tobacco industries segmentise potential consumer groups. Examples of innovative pack designs across ASEAN countries and the use of pack designs to reduce pictorial health warnings impact in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are also included.

TI activity toolkit coverSurveillance of Tobacco Industry Activities Toolkit PDF 4.7mb

This surveillance toolkit documents a practical approach used for tracking tobacco industry activities within each country. It serves as resource material for training and provides guidance on what, where, when and how to use a range of tools and strategies to monitor different industry activities such as direct and indirect advertising and promotion, point-of-sale advertising and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Included are descriptions of experiences and lessons learned during the implementation of this project together with case studies from Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. A description of Tobacco Industry Surveillance Network (TISN) is presented. The toolkit also provides a brief account of tobacco industry’s marketing strategies and the key tobacco industry players within selected ASEAN countries.

Profiting from death coverProfiting from Death: Exposing Tobacco Industry Tactics in ASEAN Countries PDF 113.3mb

Profiting from Deaths summarizes the ways in which the tobacco industry markets its deadly products in the ASEAN region, home to about 125 million smokers. Industry marketing tactics vary between countries depending on the existing laws on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships. Tobacco control legislation differs between ASEAN countries. Thailand has a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including point-of-sale display. In countries where there are either no law or weak laws, such as Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Philippines, the industry targets the poor and has extensive advertising and promotions. In countries where direct and indirect advertising have been banned, point-of-sale remains the key marketing channel.

Cool deadly coverCool but Deadly: How Cancer is Packed in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam PDF 655.6kb

As countries in the ASEAN region are gradually implementing Article 13 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which comprehensively bans tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, the tobacco industry has devised new strategies to promote its products with innovative pack and product designs. The pack is believed to be a versatile and last advertising medium to reach out to their consumers. This booklet describes how the tobacco industry uses the pack to advertise and promotes its products in these countries.

Targeting the poor coverTargeting the Poor: Casualties in Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos PDF 530.3kb

The growing tobacco market in the ASEAN region provides a lucrative market for the industry especially in countries where there is no regulation on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, or where legislation is weak, products are freely marketed to entice and attract new young smokers and the poor. This booklet documents various strategies used by tobacco industry in Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos in marketing their deadly products.

Fatal attraction coverFatal Attraction: The Story of Point-of-Sale in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam PDF 778.1kb

With the increasing ban in direct and indirect advertising, the industry has shifted its focus to the point-of-sale (POS). When advertising using brand names at point-of-sale is banned, the tobacco industry started to invest heavily on elaborate POS displays with colors and symbols with the aim to sensitize consumers to associate certain colour schemes with a particular brand. This booklet described tactics used by tobacco industry to advertise and market its tobacco products at POS in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.


Perfect coverPerfect Deception: Corporate Social Responsibility Activities in ASEAN PDF 1.2mb

Tobacco companies engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities to project its positive image as a good corporate citizen and maintain its public relations. This is one of the effective strategies used to re-brand themselves as socially responsible corporations and to protect their interests. The industry also uses CSR to fight for more lenient tobacco control legislations. This booklet documents a wide range of CSR activities carried out in almost all ASEAN countries where tobacco industry markets its products. 

Other publications

The ASEAN Tobacco Control Atlas

FCTC Scorecard

Tobacco Industry Interference

Tobacco Tax

Sustainable Financing for Health Promotion and Tobacco Control

Smoke-Free Environments

Packaging and Labelling of Tobacco Products

Tobacco Farming

Other Publications